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  • WisBar News
    December
    07
    2005

    Court rules attorneys exempt from Gramm-Leach-Bliley

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    On Dec. 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the privacy provisions of Title V of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) do not apply to lawyers. In 2001, The New York Bar Association (NYSBA) and the ABA challenged the Act’s application to lawyers. The State Bar of Wisconsin joined with Ohio in its amicus brief to the NYSBA’s action against the FTC.

    Court rules attorneys exempt from Gramm-Leach-Bliley

    On Dec. 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the privacy provisions of Title V of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) do not apply to lawyers.

    The court ruled that "...we cannot hold that Congress has ... granted the (Federal Trade) Commission the authority to regulate practicing attorneys as the Commission attempts ... The Commission's interpretation is not a reasonable one."

    The GLBA requires financial institutions to send out notices to customers alerting them to the possibility of disclosure of their personal financial information and providing methods for customers to "opt out" of the institution's disclosure practices. The FTC sought to apply this provision to attorneys engaged in such practice areas as tax planning and transactions, estate planning, real estate closings and personal bankruptcy.

    In 2001, The New York Bar Association (NYSBA) and the ABA challenged the Act's application to lawyers. The State Bar of Wisconsin joined with Ohio in its amicus brief to the NYSBA's action against the FTC.

    Read the order.PDF 179 KB