Message from the Chair

Vol. 8 No. 4

Serving the Legal Profession

I’m delighted to be writing the third of four Messages from the Chair for The SciTech Lawyer.

So far we’ve focused upon two reasons that our colleagues tend to belong to a professional association: to look like a better lawyer and to affiliate with other lawyers. I’m confident you’ll agree that these notions go hand in hand.

Now that we’re looking good and surrounded by similarly compelling
colleagues, what of our support for the broader profession that makes all of this possible?

Fortunately, SciTech has never needed to consider imposing any sort of "altruism tax" on its members. I can’t recall any point in my 14 years of membership at which the Section failed to find willing volunteers for a worthy cause. It’s abundantly clear that we continue to participate not just to enhance ourselves, but also to serve the legal profession as a whole.

The first state bar entity I ever joined, fresh out of law school, was the "Lawyers Helping Lawyers Committee." This outfit was designed to assist attorneys whose practices were jeopardized by addictive disorders. Its name certainly set us up for some occasionally not-so-good-natured jibes that tended to end with a punch line like, "What else is new?"

In fact, every time we managed to save an attorney from drugs, alcohol, or other behavioral problems, we were also helping to save that person’s family, staff, clients, and colleagues. Stepping up to assist our fellow lawyers—singly or in groups—does good for more than just our profession’s reputation. It affirms our obligation to make the world a better place for everyone touched by the practice of law . . . and it’s difficult to imagine just whom this would exclude.

SciTech provides many opportunities for members to serve, and I encourage each of you to seek out some way to help the profession. One current opportunity to serve is by joining one of SciTech’s working groups addressing recommendations from the ABA Ethics 20/20 Commission. Big changes are proposed in areas that include (1) technology: confidentiality; (2) technology: client development; (3) uniformity, conflicts of interest, and choice of law; (4) outsourcing; and (5) alternative law practice structures. Each of these areas can be informed by SciTech’s unique combination of interest and practice experience. By lining up our working groups well in advance we can directly influence the next wave of professional guidance: the final recommendations from this project will result in revisions to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. If you are interested in serving on one of these working groups, please contact Section Director Shawn Taylor Kaminski at shawn.kaminski@americanbar.org.

In this issue of The SciTech Lawyer, you’ll also see a notice from former Section Chair Gil Whittemore that describes volunteer opportunities recently developed by various committees. This notice includes a brief description of the project in question, specification of what volunteers will be asked to do, and contact information for the person who can provide interested members with more information.

We’re committed to keeping you up to date on all avenues of service—and also to fielding your suggestions for volunteer projects we haven’t considered. I’m always delighted to hear from you, and I hope you won’t hesitate to contact me directly at 877-877-6692 or at edrogin@bidmc.harvard.edu if I can help in any way.

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