Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2005

Abstract

Business executives, accountants, lawyers, and the general public have shown great interest in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act ("the Act") that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2002. Designed as securities legislation, the Act reaches into areas of lawyer conduct, and the regulation of that lawyer conduct, that previously were the domain primarily of state supreme courts. Lawyers, law firms, and bar organizations have recognized that the concept of what it means to be an ethical lawyer has been altered by the Act. Related developments spawned by the Act's passage will continue to change the ethical landscape for many lawyers, even those who do not practice securities law. This article offers an overview of this important area by asking and briefly answering three questions. First, where did the Sarbanes-Oxley Act come from? Second, what is the Act? Third, and most importantly for our purposes, why should lawyers care about the Act and its related developments?

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