From the Director’s Desk

Volume 37 Number 6

By

Pamela McDevitt (Pamela.McDevitt@americanbar.org) is the Director of the ABA Law Practice Management Section in Chicago.

The ABA Law Practice Management Section (LPM) began the 2011-2012 ABA year with a new leader and a new focus.

The LPM Fall Meeting in Cape Cod, kicked off a year devoted to collaboration for the LPM Section. Tom Mighell, LPM Chair, has stated in his messages to the Section that he will work to create an atmosphere of collaboration within the Section and with groups/entities outside the Section. The theory is simple: by working together we will achieve better results. The Section will be determined to tear down silos and walls, working together in effective teams. The potential benefits of collaboration are significant: cross-committee resource development, increased sales through cross selling and increased knowledge of the Section’s resources. I am excited about this theme for the year and I hope you are too!

LPM was honored to have several members of local bar associations from attend the LPM Fall Meeting, including Barnstable County Bar President, Michael Flores. He shared with Council some of the practice management issues attorneys in are facing. LPM is always thrilled to meet, network and collaborate with new potential active members. 

The LPM Fall Meeting in Cape Cod provided some great educational opportunities for members, including the following topics: SmartPhones for Lawyers: Choosing, Managing and Securing Them; Website 201; Google for Lawyers; Avoiding Malpractice; and Law Firm Finance. 

The Timing is Right
LPM has a new Committee this year: Ethics and Professional Responsibility. One of the missions of this Committee will be to examine the findings of the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20, which was created in August 2009 to examine the ethical and regulatory impact of advancing technology and increasing globalization on the legal profession and to make recommendations where appropriate to the ABA House of Delegates. The Commission has been meeting and gathering information since that time and has released some of its initial findings and proposals. Some of the issues addressed include outsourcing, confidentiality-related ethics issues arising from lawyers’ use of technology, and issues relating to inbound foreign lawyers.        

Michael P. Downey, Vice Chair of the LPM Section and a Partner at Armstrong Teasdale LLP, is chairing our LPM Committee and has decades of experience in representing lawyers and their firms on legal, ethics, discipline, risk management and related issues. This LPM Committee will be working on providing input on the Commission’s recommendations. The Commission has been proposing to amend many of the Comments to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct with the objective of providing lawyers better and more clear guidance regarding their ethical obligations. It is, therefore, critical that our Section give substantive input into the many practice management issues the Commission plans to address.  We look forward to our Committee’s work, and I plan to continue to update the Section on this endeavor. 

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