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According to The National Law Journal, the American Bar Association is preparing to go to court if it cannot persuade the Federal Trade Commission to exempt lawyers from new regulations to protect against identity theft.

The regulations, which grew out of legislation passed in 2003, require businesses and organizations that act as "creditors" to establish a program for preventing identity theft. According to a Federal Trade Commission guide, the program must identify potential areas of vulnerability within a business and include policies for detecting and responding to red flags. Lawyers are lobbying to be left out of the regulations saying an undue burden would be placed on them.

H. Thomas Wells Jr. said in an interview that the New York-based firm Proskauer Rose has signed up to represent the ABA pro bono. The trade commission is scheduled to begin enforcing the regulations Aug. 1, and Wells said the bar association would file a lawsuit by the end of next week if necessary to head off enforcement.

"If they stay with the Aug. 1 date and we don't get some kind of sign, we'll be filing before Aug. 1," said Wells, a partner at Maynard Cooper & Gale in Birmingham, Ala.

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