Law firms as businesses: the responsibility to respect human rights

Author: John Sherman in Lawyers for Better Business, Published on: 28 November 2011

A recent op-ed in the New York Times by Joe Nocera described a law firm’s resistance to attesting to the validity of client mortgage documents on which it relied in court proceedings to foreclose on residential home mortgages. The firm subsequently announced its intention to close shop after paying a $2 million penalty to federal authorities and losing two big clients...These tactics raise important legal ethical questions...; namely the responsibility of law firms — as business enterprises — to manage their business with respect for human rights...What does residential foreclosure litigation have to do with human rights? A great deal...A foreclosure takes away a home...[Q]uestionable foreclosure litigation practices can potentially infringe upon universally recognized human rights of individual homeowners under the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), such as the right to remedy by a competent tribunal (Article 8), the right to a fair public hearing (Article 10), freedom from arbitrary interference with one’s home (Article 12), and the right not to be arbitrarily deprived of property (Article 17). [refers to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac]

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Related companies: Fannie Mae Freddie Mac