Providing a Social Security number (SSN) has been required for new attorneys in Maryland since at least the early 1980s. But this year, a Maryland lawyer filed suit after the Maryland Client Protection Fund, a mandatory program for lawyers, suspended his license for refusing to supply his SSN. The attorney, Marc Alan Greidinger, tried to make the argument that federal law forbids denying a benefit, such as a license, to somebody simply for refusing to give their Social Scurity number. He and 9,100 other Marhyland attorneys failed to disclose their SSNs when ordered to. But a federal court didin’t buy Greidinger’s argument. In dismissing the civil action (Greidinger v. Almand, No RDB-14-1454), the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland said July 3 that the Federal Privacy Act does not forbid this use of SSNs.
The number of attorneys not complying with child support orders is apparently quite large. The SSN requirement was adopted after a legislative audit found license suspension were not being effectively used to enforce child support payments, and threatened to withhold funding for the judiciary if the situation wasn’t remedied, resulting in an “administrative and budgetary fiasco,” the court said.
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