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2024 Award Recipient

Susan S. Fortney

2024 Award Recipient

2024 Award Recipient

Susan S. Fortney J.D., LL.M., J.S.D. is the recipient of the 2024 Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award. Ms. Fortney is the Stephen R. Alton University Professor and Director of the Program for the Advancement of Legal Ethics at Texas A&M University School of Law.

Nationally and internationally renowned for her extraordinary research, scholarship, and teaching on legal ethics and the regulation of lawyers. Professor Fortney is also an outstanding, dedicated, and creative public servant, whose work with scholars, lawyers, regulators, courts, and bar organizations demonstrate a commitment to improving lawyer ethics, conduct, and regulation reflect the true spirit of the Michael Franck Award.

Professor Fortney’s dedication to legal ethics and professional responsibility has had a profound impact on the legal profession both nationally and internationally; she has taught legal ethics in the United States at Texas Tech, Boston, St. Johns, Hofstra, and Texas A&M universities and abroad in Slovenia, Poland, and Australia. She is credited by many as being one of the first to introduce the Proactive, Management-Based Regulation (PMBR) concept to lawyer regulation entities and has been an integral resource to multiple U.S jurisdictions in development of their individual PMBR programs. Her international work includes assisting   Canadian and Australian regulators in implementing and improving their proactive approaches and serving as a Fulbright Scholar.

As a pioneering empiricist in the legal ethics field, Professor Fortney’s work regarding ethical infrastructure and culture of lawyer organizations has been foundational in both the legal academy and across the legal profession. She has conducted research with and for regulators and lawyer organizations in the U.S. and abroad. Her studies have helped regulators and lawyers better understand and improve lawyer regulation and conduct.

Professor Fortney has also championed various access to justice initiatives. This includes creating and obtaining funding for the Texas Apprenticeship Network, an incubator-accelerator program designed to provide training, mentoring, and supervision to lawyers representing modest-means clients.

Professor Fortney has individually authored over 50 articles, research reports, essays, and reviews dealing with legal ethics and the legal profession. Her books include co-authoring the first textbook on legal malpractice law, as well as the new West Academic professional responsibility hornbook, called Legal Ethics, Professional Responsibility and the Legal Profession.

Professor Fortney has worked on numerous ABA committees and bodies, including many years of service as a member of the ABA Editorial Board for professional responsibility publications. . She currently serves as a member of the planning committee for the ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility.

Please join us in congratulating Susan Fortney as the 2024 winner of the Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award. Professor Fortney will be presented with the ABA Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award on May 31, 2024, during the 2024 ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility in Denver, CO.