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Overcoming a significant disability in a law career means negotiating environmental and physical challenges every day, but social exclusion and ingrained attitudes can present more imposing career obstacles. Stuart Pixley, a Microsoft senior attorney born with cerebral palsy, reflects on a working life both fulfilling and taxing, and on his commitment to the cause of empowering other lawyers with disabilities through engagement with the broader diversity movement.
A former ABA Rule of Law Initiative lawyer who worked with and trained lawyers in countries once part of the Soviet Union draws deeply from personal experience in portraying the plight of principled lawyers tasked with pursuing justice in an ethically bankrupt legal culture. Melissa Hooper reports that many conscientious lawyers she encountered “felt it was their job to act as ballast to an otherwise completely corrupt and state-driven system.” Ms. Hooper offers a rare and riveting personal insight into a dysfunctional and dehumanizing system.
Professor Susan Saab Fortney, a leading scholar on lawyer ethics and regulation, considers the Australian system of proactive regulation as a template for using management-based principles to improve lawyer conduct in the United States and other jurisdictions. The Australian model focuses on building an ethical infrastructure for law practice, rather than the traditional reactive, complaints-driven approach prevalent in U.S. states. Prof. Fortney challenges regulators to move in the direction of the “attorney integrity” system that, her data shows, has elevated lawyer conduct Down Under.
A prominent authority on professional education reform, William M. Sullivan, argues in this essay that current efforts in legal education to give more emphasis to professional identity formation are harbingers of a social movement in higher education. An emerging rallying point among legal educators, the author observes, is that formation of professional identity is the critical piece that must guide what is learned and how it is understood in the law school environment, if law students are to be prepared for professional life.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, clouding the ethics analysis for lawyers in a growing number of states where marijuana has been legalized to some degree. But state supreme courts are fashioning ethics guidance enabling marijuana-trade lawyers to work around the Model Rule 1.2(d) bar on assisting a client in conduct that is criminal. Author Mark J. Fucile surveys the field, reporting several states have now made it clear that counsel can ethically advise clients engaged in marijuana commerce now legal within their state—as long as the continuing federal violation is noted. But the author cautions that other ethics rules, beyond 1.2, are implicated.