The Chicago Bar Foundation - Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP) is a dynamic, effective and innovative program established to help lawyers build socially conscious, community-based law practices and advance access to affordable legal services for individuals with low and middle incomes and businesses. Leveraging technology and drawing on principles of entrepreneurship and professionalism, JEP developed has successful and replicable models to assist lawyers establish sustainable law practices by providing training, mentoring, and resources in a collaborative office setting. Building professionalism is a core aspect of JEP. All participants begin the program with a 20 hours per week pro bono residency. In addition, the program offers lawyers networking opportunities with experienced practitioners in the Chicago legal community and practice management resources, including a toolkit covering pricing and flexible and limited scope representation options. A website (https://jepchicago.community.lawyer) was created to connect consumers in need of affordable and flexible legal services with lawyers in the JEP network. Since its inception, JEP has helped more than 60 attorneys build practices which have helped more than 5,200 low to middle income clients. CBF is now identifying successful replicable practice models and is helping other jurisdictions start similar programs. This unique collaborative effort is worthy of emulation.
Florida International University College of Law - Well-Being at FIU Law program integrates professionalism and well-being at all levels of students’ experiences, offering cross-disciplinary programming and engaging all members of the FIU community, including enrolled students, prospective students, faculty, administrators, staff, and alumni to create an institutional and professional culture of well-being. The goal is to empower law students with stress-resilience skills and knowledge about well-being and its importance to a successful and healthy career in the practice of law. Building upon the connection between well-being and performance, professionalism, and ethical (value-aligned) decision-making in the law, Well-Being at FIU Law offers a wide variety of innovative well-being resources, including a dedicated webpage with recorded programming titled “Well-Being Discussions & Webinars”; YouTube tutorials on various topics such as stress, gratitude, sleep, mentoring, mindfulness, and imposter syndrome; innovative cross-disciplinary programming with the FIU College of Medicine, including bimonthly sessions on Mindfulness in the Profession, workshops on nutrition and meditation challenges; upper level elective courses on ethics and the legal profession which integrates professional identity formation and dimensions of well-being; and peer mentoring and scheduled “well-being check-ins” for first-year students and student led-support groups co-facilitated by a licensed social worker. Well-Being at FIU Law represents an outstanding and successful model worth emulating.
Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law, LRW Student Outreach Program, is a successful and exemplary voluntary program designed to promote and enhance professionalism among lawyers and law students and reinforce important lawyering skills necessary for a successful career in the practice of law. The LRW faculty creates and organizes educational programming on various topics featuring guest speakers and facilitators from the local bench and bar to engage law students with members of the larger legal community and provide networking opportunities. Students who participate in the LRW interactive workshops addressing various topics, including court decorum, time management, ethics, self-care, and proper communication with the court, opposing counsel, and clients, receive critical professionalism instruction through the modeling and advice of volunteer lawyers and judges. Since its inception, the LRW Student Outreach Program has impacted more than 1,000 students, as well as dozens of judges, lawyers, and professors. This easily replicated model relying primarily on volunteers and minimal funding is worthy of emulation.
The Mississippi Access to Justice Commission & The Mississippi Bar's Access to Justice Initiative. This robust state-wide access to justice initiative began as a collaborative effort among various stakeholders in Mississippi, including the Mississippi Supreme Court, the Administrative Office of the Court, chancellors in every judicial district of the state, the MS Bar, the MS Access to Justice Commission, the MS Volunteer Lawyers Project, and various other affinity bar associations from across the state. The Access to Justice Initiative implemented civil legal clinics in every judicial court district throughout Mississippi with the common goal of serving the public and closing the gap to the access to justice. In addition to instilling in lawyers and law students the importance of providing pro bono services and the professional benefits they receive, these legal clinics provide a resource for lawyers and law students to learn new legal specialties, get hands-on experience, and hone existing skills, as well as an opportunity to find mentors. The free legal clinic model was created specifically to be easily duplicated by others. The MS Access to Justice Commission created a Legal Clinic Toolkit with information, forms and everything else needed for other courts and bars to organize and implement a successful legal clinic.
The New York State Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law. This program was established to promote awareness of, and adherence to, professional values and ethical behavior by New York lawyers, promote scholarship regarding emerging professionalism and ethics issues in the practice of law, and to facilitate cooperation among practitioners, bar associations, law schools, courts, and civic organizations in addressing matters of professionalism, ethics and public understanding of the legal profession. Diverse attorneys from different practice settings, judges from the appellate and trial courts, and legal educators are appointed by the Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals to serve on the Institute. The Institute holds several convocations around the state, inviting 100-150 people to come together for a day to discuss issues relating to lawyer professionalism. In addition, the Institute created a library of CLE programs covering various ethics and professionalism topics, and recently published a Handbook on Legal Skills and Professional Values, distributed to each newly admitted attorney in New York state.
Florida State University College of Law “Raising the Bar” Professionalism Program. This engaging and interactive program provides support to FSU law students across all three years of law school and assists in the development of professional skills and expectations of behaviors to help them in law school and throughout their legal careers. A collaborative effort with members of FSU law faculty, law students, administrative offices, including career services office, office of student advancement, research center, alumni office as well as in partnership with various bar organizations, including the Florida Bar Center for Professionalism, the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, the Florida Lawyers Assistance Program, “Raising the Bar” is a voluntary program centered on five major pillars: 1) Personal Productivity & Resilience, 2) Civic Engagement, 3) Relationship Building, 4) Practice Area Exploration, and 5) Technology & Effective Communication. The program includes 20-25 diverse workshops designed around the mastery of skills critical for success in a variety of modern day professional settings, events, an annual professionalism-themed writing competition, a mentoring program and a “Raising the Bar” Professionalism Award, voted on by the graduating class.
Dallas Bar Association Day of Civility
The Dallas Bar Association Day of Civility started as a local program and is now a state-wide initiative supported by a Joint Proclamation signed by state and federal court judges. The Day of Civility is designed to provide lawyers in Texas an opportunity to reaffirm and embrace the principles espoused in the Texas Lawyer’s Creed, encouraging lawyers to conduct themselves with utmost courtesy and professionalism toward all persons, including judges, adversaries, clients and other colleagues.
The Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society Pathways and Pipelines to Success program offers African-American law students from all four Louisiana-area law schools professional development, career-building tools and networking opportunities by immersing them in experiential learning, exposing them to exceptional professional development resources and role models, and assisting them in transitioning after law school to professionals.
Stetson University College of Law Professional Development Conference: Campus to Career program, designed to help transition students from a student mindset to a professional one, facilitates decision-making and increased engagement and enrollment in experiential and co-curricular learning opportunities by strengthening students’ knowledge and skills in nine competency areas: resilience, time management, professionalism, decision-making, planning, civility, self-assessment, mentoring and wellness.
The Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association Tour de Courts Program, an innovative new lawyer orientation program that promotes collegiality and professionalism. New lawyers interact and network with other lawyers in the community, judges, community leaders, and bar leadership by participating in various events, including tours of all levels of the local court system led by judges where they receive practical information about the judicial system, lunch meetings with lawyers, judges and bar leadership and informal roundtable discussions.
The George Washington University Law School Inns of Court/Foundations of Practice Program, a fully integrated voluntary program for first-year law students designed to help students acquire, internalize and demonstrate critical professional skills. Students are assigned to one of six Inns of Court and participate in various workshops, including legal writing, career counseling, networking, and wellbeing programs that help students build emotional resilience, manage stress, and empower them to flourish in law school and their legal careers. Students who complete the program earn the Dean’s Recognition for Professional Development, a notable distinction acknowledged by many legal employers.
The Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP), is a voluntary mentoring program designed to promote professional identity in the legal profession, excellence in the service to clients and strong relationships between the bar, courts, law schools, clients and the public. CAMP distinguishes itself with a unique mentoring curriculum that serves lawyers at all stages of practice, consisting of eight mentoring tracks that provide resources and tools for professional growth, incorporating principles of professionalism, ethics, law practice management, and access to justice.
The Baylor Law School Practice Ready Program, a robust and innovate mandatory course requiring students to complete a minimum of 18 credit hours over their three years at Baylor in programs offering more than fifty learning opportunities divided into six categories: law practice, career building, practical skills, professional formation and leadership, professionalism and ethics, and wellness. Baylor’s “goal is to produce professionals who are truly ‘practice ready’ by focusing on the most important professional development skills necessary for new lawyers to succeed in the practice of law.
The SMU Dedman School of Law Professionalism Initiative, a first-year curriculum aimed at developing and enhancing all aspects of the law students’ professional development, focusing on civility, ethics, competency, zealous advocacy and public service through a series of programs. First, the Inns of Court program connects new and continuing law students with faculty advisors, student leaders, career advisors and alumni mentors. Activities include meetings and a variety of programing focusing on career and professional development, academic advising, alumni connections, and informational sessions on a variety of topics including health and wellness, diversity and inclusion, leadership training and team-building, and public service. Second, the Mustang Exchange Flash Mentor program pairs students with multiple alumni throughout the year for career conversations, mock interviews and job shadowing experiences. Third, to emphasize the importance of creating socially responsible lawyers, each student participates in the Public Service Program and is required to perform a minimum of 30 hours of pro bono legal assistance. Graduating students who volunteer 200 or more hours in uncompensated law-related public service are recognized on the school’s Pro Bono Honor Roll.
New Orleans Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Big Easy Bootcamp
The New Orleans Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Big Easy Bootcamp, an innovative continuing legal education day-long program aimed at helping newly licensed lawyers bridge the gap between law school and the practice of law with panel discussions on various topics, including ethics, professionalism, courtroom decorum, law practice management, and the mechanics of practicing law. Interaction with the panelists provides a rare opportunity for young lawyers to engage with judges and experienced practitioners and have their questions answered as they begin their careers, and before they make any missteps with regard to their professional responsibilities. A reception following the program allows newly admitted lawyers to further interact with judges and lawyers and form mentorship relationships.
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University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Bowen Law Comprehensive Developmental Professionalism Curriculum
This program was honored for a multi-faceted, extremely well-conceived professionalism curriculum that exposes Bowen Law students to a rich array of professionalism principles and related experiences. The developmental structure of the program ensures that students are immersed in and committed to professionalism values from the outset of their legal education, values that add meaning to their experience as they move through mandatory professionalism coursework, mandatory pro bono, reflective journaling, sessions related to professional identity formation, and other exemplary program elements.
Campbell Law School and the Professionalism Committee of the North Carolina 10th Judicial District and the Wake County Bar Association Connections Mentor Program
This Gambrell Award honors an exemplary law student and new lawyer mentoring program model that embraces best practices and stands as a model bar/law school partnership for others to follow. Highly effective mentoring like the Campbell Law program is essential in an era when law students and new lawyers face significant challenges requiring the kind of guidance and support that only committed mentors can provide.
South Carolina Bar Attorney Wellness Committee and Living Above the Bar
This highly innovative initiative of the South Carolina Bar recognizes and proactively offers solutions to the health challenges facing so many in our profession. This South Carolina program is at the forefront of the legal community’s recognition that lawyers cannot function well as professionals or client advocates when inadequate attention is paid to their mental and physical wellbeing. The South Carolina Bar has set a high bar for its counterparts across the nation, who would do well to emulate this successful program of lawyers helping lawyers.
The District of Columbia Bar’s Successful Small Firm Practice Course
The DC Bar’s Successful Small Firm Practice Course is blazing a path other bar organizations can and should follow to support, fortify, and train the many new and displaced lawyers who, by choice or circumstance, have found themselves moving into a solo or small firm practice environment with little or no background in managing a law practice.
The University of New Hampshire School of Law’s Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program
The New Hampshire Law Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program stands as a national model of committed collaboration between law institutions, with the active involvement of University of New Hampshire School of Law, the New Hampshire Supreme Court, the New Hampshire Board of Bar Examiners, and the New Hampshire Bar Association.
The University of St. Thomas School of Law’s ROADMAP Curriculum
The St. Thomas Law ROADMAP Curriculum represents an extraordinary advancement in law school curricular programming designed to enable students to proactively take responsibility for their own professional development and attain core competencies needed to serve clients, the profession, and the public.
The Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law Inside the Legal Profession Program
The Mercer program exposes law students to a close, highly personal examination of what professionalism means, and how it manifests itself, in the lives of accomplished and prominent practitioners, in a live, student-audience interview conducted by the program director. The program transcends standard practitioner testimonials through a deep and thoughtful exploration of what lawyer professionalism means and how it manifests itself in the day-to-day lives of working lawyers and judges. The intimate, one-on-one interview format lends itself to a compelling and lasting learning experience. Other programming elements further advance professional formation of students.
The Vanderbilt University Law School Professionalism in Practice Program
The Vanderbilt Law program, Professionalism in Practice, is a thoughtfully designed and well balanced offering that stimulates exploration and development of professional identity from the first days of a student’s law school career. In delivering perspectives on the legal profession and exemplars of professionalism, the Vanderbilt program encourages students to view law school in the larger context of a professionally satisfying and principled career, through meaningful dialogue and close exposure to model practitioners. The presenters convey their devotion to the highest ideals of the profession while helping students, at a formative early stage of law studies, work through common ethical and other dilemmas facing lawyers in the real world.
Alabama State Bar Leadership Forum
The Alabama State Bar Leadership Forum is honored as a dynamic, highly effective model for nurturing and developing leadership skills and values among qualified, promising lawyers. The “servant leadership” ethic advanced by the Forum enhances professionalism as it calls for sharing power and helping others develop and perform to the best of their ability. From the program’s inception in 2005, it has produced 262 graduates equipped not only to serve the bar but to shape the future of the state of Alabama. Now in its ninth year, the Alabama State Bar Leadership Forum illuminates a pathway that other states may follow in nourishing servant-minded bar and community leadership.
Elon University School of Law Leadership Program
The Elon [pron. Ee’lon] Law School Leadership Program is honored for its deeply committed and excellent approach to leadership training of law students. The Elon program is a professionalism education model of distinction, as it indoctrinates students on of self, leadership of teams, and leadership of the community. First- and second-year students at Elon take required leadership courses during a two-week winter term. The program enlists prominent and highly qualified leaders of the legal community to share lessons and examples of leadership. The Elon University School of Law Leadership Program embraces leadership as a critical lawyering skill, as it prepares law students for the responsibility and demands of leadership in multiple contexts. It is a program worthy of national emulation.
The Utah State Bar New Lawyer Training Program
The Utah State Bar New Lawyer Training Program is recognized for its highly collaborative and outstanding contribution to the lawyer mentoring movement. The Utah Bar made a commitment to excellence and to the profession’s future in a program that exposes every new lawyer to the benefits of qualified mentoring; ensures inclusion of an array of developmental themes in the mentoring experience; provides that all mentors are experienced and in good standing; conscientiously monitors program effectiveness; and offers CLE credits to both new lawyers and mentors, as authorized by the Utah Supreme Court. The Utah State Bar New Lawyer Training Program has made a significant regional imprint, as other Western states have turned to Utah for inspiration and an effective program blueprint.
The 17th Judicial Circuit Professionalism Initiative – a joint program of the 17th Judicial Circuit of Illinois, the Winnebago County Bar Association and the Boone County Bar Association, all of Illinois (2012)
The Initiative was honored for establishing an innovative bench-bar mechanism for reinforcement of aspirational ideals of lawyer conduct within the judicial circuit, combined with a mentoring program facilitating the transition to professional practice of new bar admittees. The highly innovative program features establishment of a peer review council of respected area lawyers in the area available to informally assist when possible violations of the aspirational code (short of lawyer disciplinary violations), have been referred. The mandatory lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program has proven highly effective in imparting practice and professionalism knowledge and skills from experienced legal professionals to new lawyers. The work done in this pilot program over several years has animated the efforts of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism to develop new statewide programs in the areas of mentoring, an aspirational code of conduct, and a peer review program. This unique collaborative effort of bench and bar is worthy of emulation.
ISBA Mentor Match Program - Indiana State Bar Association PLEADS Section (2012)
The Indiana State Bar Association PLEADS Section was recognized for committing substantial effort to building a successful statewide lawyer mentoring program model that supports new lawyers transitioning into practice, as well as other lawyers who may benefit. Under this innovative program, the mentor receives 12 hours of CLE credit and the mentee receives 6 hours of applied professionalism credit (or, if those credits have already been satisfied, 6 hours of ethics/CLE credit). Importantly, Indiana was the first state to award CLE credit for participating in a mentoring relationship. This critical incentive greatly increases the program’s prospects for success and serves as a model for all states committed to effective lawyer mentoring programs.
Professional Responsibility and Ethics Program (PREP) - University of Miami School of Law (Fla.) (2012)
Through this highly innovative program, law students explore “hot- topic” professional responsibility issues, draft academic materials, and then present on-site ethics programs to non-profit legal services, bar associations, government agencies, law firms and corporations in the area. PREP creates a unique synergy among law students and the legal profession, with students benefiting from exposure to realworld practice environments, and program users enhancing their skills as they learn from well-prepared student instructors. PREP represents an outstanding and successful model worth emulating.
District of Columbia Bar (2011)
Basic Training teaches the lawyer how to solve client problems and function as an enterprise professionally and ethically. It explores subjects that are rarely discussed in law schools. It provides guidance that might only be available from a senior partner or a mentor to lawyers who need the information now.
At the heart of Basic Training is a free, two-day, interactive, practical program for members of the District of Columbia Bar that provides an attorney with all of the tools, ethical guidance and information needed to get a law office up and going in the District of Columbia. The sessions are typically limited to 20-25 lawyers in a conference room setting. The focus of the sessions is on a discussion of six key areas. In the day-one session, the characteristics of the solo attorney, the solo’s workplace and the mechanics of opening an office in the District of Columbia, and the business plan are covered in detail. In the day-two session, marketing, client relations, and productivity are explored.
Conducted by the manager of the D.C. Bar Practice Management Advisory Service(PMAS), the program incorporates the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct into the subject matter. For example, considerable attention is placed upon the proper maintenance of the trust account, the handling of client funds and property, and the interaction between the lawyer’s trust account and operating account.
Basic Training is more than the two-day program. It has given rise to a monthly networking dinner where attendees meet socially and it has allowed for ongoing communication between the over 1,000 past program attendees and the PMAS manager. Program attendees frequently confer individually with the PMAS manager for in-depth and firm-specific discussion of topics that have been covered in the sessions. For many D.C. Bar members who have never operated their own law practices, Basic Training provides a context for them to think professionally and strategically about their work as lawyers and to implement a plan for their practices to serve the clients well and to grow.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law (2011)
Raymond B. Witt Professional Roundtable and its sister program, the Charlotte Professional Roundtable The Witt Professionalism Roundtable is a signature event at Carolina Law, annually drawing more than 200 students, faculty, lawyers and judges to Chapel Hill every February. The Witt Roundtable has enjoyed such great success that UNC alumni proposed, in 2006, that the School should host a similar fall gathering in Charlotte, North Carolina, the banking center of the southeast and the State’s largest city. The Charlotte Professionalism Roundtable was first held in October 2007, thanks in part, to a grant from the North Carolina Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism.
The genius of the roundtables is their creation of credible ethical problems, drawn closely from professional life, problems that actively engage the attention of managing partners, federal judges, and law faculty alike. The most recent exercise focused on the ethics of advertising by a law firm on social network media; it presented questions undreamed of when print and broadcast were the only forms of lawyer-client advertising.
All roundtable participants receive the evening’s relatively short, multi-part problem and pertinent professional rules ahead of time. Each table of 8 to 12 is carefully designed to ensure a mix of students, faculty, lawyers, judges, and/or public officials. A faculty member opens each table’s discussion in a Socratic fashion by restating the problem and posing an initial question. Some lawyers at the table may have faced similar issues in practice – although many will later confess that they didn’t fully appreciate the depth or complexity of the matters until their Witt Dinner discussion.
All participants have been informed at the outset that someone from their tables (usually the junior-most student) will likely be invited to the podium at the end of the evening to share the table’s best thoughts. As a result, most tables soon bond as a group and begin to engage in collective problem‐solving. State Supreme Court justices, city mayors, junior associates, and second-year law students all typically work in earnest toward the common end of finding responsible, ethically appropriate answers. For many students, speaking up at a table filled with judges, lawyers, and faculty members as they struggle together to frame the best response, becomes their first taste of non-classroom, collegial legal problem- solving.
After discussion, representatives from half of the tables are called, one by one, to the podium to address the problem, each for 3-4 minutes apiece. The evening typically concludes with remarks from the faculty member or members who have conceived the problem and who offer to the audience their own well-informed and researched views about each of the issues.
Florida Costal School of Law (2010)
With Holland & Knight LLP as its founding sponsor in 2008, Coastal Law launched an innovative program designed to impart the principles of ethics and professionalism from the perspective of practicing attorneys and judges. The Coastal Law Shadow Program provides students with opportunities to observe state and federal judges, private practice attorneys, public interest lawyers, and governmental law departments at trial and pretrial proceedings, mediations, settlements and other practice related activities. Consistent with Coastal Law’s encouragement of its students to gain practical experience and ethical awareness, the program bridges classroom instruction with exposure to daily practice activities and the tenets of professionalism.
State Bar of Georgia - Transition Into Law Practice Program “The Mentoring Program” (2010)
The Program is essentially an educational program that combines a Mentoring component with a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) component.
The core of the Program is to match beginning lawyers, after admission to the Bar, with a mentor during their first year of practice. The purpose of the Program is to afford every beginning lawyer newly admitted to the State Bar of Georgia with meaningful access to an experienced lawyer equipped to teach the practical skills, seasoned judgment, and sensitivity to ethical and professionalism values necessary to practice law in a highly competent manner.
The Colorado/Denver Bar (2009)
The Colorado/Denver Bars’ project involved the creation of new professionalism teaching video vignettes, following in the tradition of those created by the as part of the implementation of the recommendations of the 1986 Report of the Commission on Professionalism. The DVD and teaching material has been widely distributed and used providing a simple, functional mechanism for encouraging professionalism and satisfying CLE requirements.
The Louisiana Bar (2009)
The Louisiana Bar program involves an effort to improve efforts related to character and fitness, which is a current focus of the Standing Committee on Professionalism and an important part of the ABA Accreditation Standards currently under review and which the Standing Committee has commented on to the Review Committee. LSBA project successfully brought a complete reconsideration to the character and fitness process for student applicants to the bar raising competency and professionalism.
Phoenix Law School (2009)
The program involves the creation of comprehensive professionalism teaching modules that reflect the recommendations of recent publications such as the Carnegie Report on Educating Lawyers and represent the types of professionalism legal education plans that the Standing Committee is attempting to quantify for purposes of rating the professionalism efforts of law schools. The General Practice Skills was specifically designed to be the capstone course in fulfilling the mission of “practical readiness.” The focus of the course is on professionalism and learning the skills that are essential to solving real client problems.
Drake University Law School (2008)
has implemented an innovative and integrated approach to teaching legal ethics and professionalism. In addition to the required upper level professional responsibility course, the school has developed an extensive professionalism curriculum that spans the entire first year and includes: 1) a multi-faceted orientation program that introduces students to legal ethics and professionalism; 2) a concentration on ethical and professional considerations in the required legal writing course; 3) a week-long immersion in an actual jury trial,; and 4) Supreme Court Week, a year-end celebration of the law school’s relationship with the bench and bar that reinforces the importance of professionalism and ethics and recognizes academic excellence, leadership and service. The goal of Drake’s program of instruction is to provide students with a focused, integrated, comprehensive curriculum of ethics and professionalism which pervades the law school experience. This effort is established in the first year and enhanced by the variety of offerings in the upper-class curriculum. Moreover, the law school seeks to distinguish itself as an institution that provides a unique emphasis on skills and theory saturated with a focus on how ethics and professionalism concerns inform and direct lawyering behavior.
Ohio State Bar Association's OfficeKeeper Guide (2008)
OfficeKeeper is the Ohio State Bar Association’s comprehensive online law office management guide to opening, maintaining and closing a law office, covering both day-to-day operations, as well as various aspects of professional responsibility. OfficeKeeper includes checklists, forms, sample documents and links to Web sites and the new Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Subjects addressed in the guide include: opening and maintaining a law practice, including choosing a business entity, developing a business plan, basic office equipment and office space considerations; time billing and accounting, including trust accounts, fraud prevention and financial accounting; case management, including hiring/firing, payroll, performance reviews and shared staff; marketing, including what is permitted, networking and specialization; practice challenges, including pro bono opportunities, career satisfaction and achieving a balanced life; and closing/selling a law practice, including law practice valuation, records retention and professional responsibility issues. By making this resource available to all members at no additional charge, the OSBA hopes to help members better manage the business side of their practices and avoid malpractice pitfalls.
Pro Bono Net (2008)
Pro Bono Net is a national nonprofit organization that works in partnership with nonprofit legal organizations across the and to increase access to justice for the millions of poor people who face legal problems every year without help from a lawyer. Pro Bono Net does this by (i) supporting the innovative and effective use of technology by the nonprofit legal sector, (ii) increasing participation by volunteers, and (iii) facilitating collaborations among nonprofit legal organizations and advocates working on similar issues or in the same region.
Pro Bono Net’s programs include Probono.net, a national, online resource for legal aid and pro bono attorneys, law professors and students, and related social services advocates, LawHelp.org, an online resource that helps low and moderate-income people find free legal aid programs in their communities, answers to questions about their legal rights, court information, links to social service agencies, and more, Online Document Assembly, a national, centralized effort to provide online legal document assembly for poverty law and court access to justice programs across the country, and Pro Bono Manager, a customized, hosted web application to increase law firms’ pro bono program management capacity. The site promotes collaboration and makes it easier for pro bono attorneys to get involved, saving them time and connecting them with opportunities, training events, mentors, and searchable libraries of practice resources.
Indianapolis Bar Association Professionalism Initiative (2007)
The Indianapolis Bar Association (IBA), aided by grants from the Indianapolis Bar Foundation, launched a Professionalism Initiative in January 2002 to promote positive lawyer images in the community and eliminate client distrust and dissatisfaction. Some of the initiatives undertaken by the Association include: 1) the Tenets of Professional Courtesy, which are distributed to lawyers and displayed in legal offices and courtrooms and serve as a benchmark for professional demeanor within the legal community; 2) the Bar Leader Series, a leadership development and professional enhancement program for young lawyers in their first three to ten years of practice; 3) the Applied Professionalism Course for New Attorneys, which is a semi-annual full-day program geared to attorneys in their first three years of practice; 4) the “Surviving and Thriving in the Practice of Law,” day-long program entitled for third-year law students; 5) Judicial Criticism Response, which educates the public and responds to instances of perceived unfair criticism of judges; 6) Lawyer Criticism Response, which educates the public in instances where an attorney has been unfairly criticized within the media; 7) a Professionalism Award, which was created in 2004 to honor excellence in the Indianapolis Bar Association; 8) Lawyers Care Project, which has sent more than 200 care packages to members of the Indiana National Guard serving in the Middle East.
The goal of the Initiative is to reduce image or perception-related barriers that may a) prevent some practitioners from rendering a high quality of service in the practice of law, b) prevent the public from obtaining legal advice, and c) create distance in some attorney-client relationships. All of the activities listed above stress honesty, integrity, and service, which are the benchmarks of professionalism.
Vermont Law School’s General Practice Program (2007)
Vermont Law School’s General Practice Program (GPP), established in 1987, is a two-year certificate program that integrates substantive law, professional skills and professional responsibility using a simulated-based methodology. Students function as practicing attorneys in a small law firm over a two-year period, and learn by doing the tasks of general practitioners in their daily representation of clients. A team of 12 faculty members act as senior partners and guide and evaluate student performance. The GPP integrates professional skills and values with 13 substantive areas of law—mostly those common to general practitioners, such as domestic relations, business planning, estates and bankruptcy. A mentorship component, which pairs first year GPP students with local practitioners was added to the program in 2004 and melded with the ABA Mentoring Certificate Program in 2006 in order to provide students and mentors an opportunity to discuss issues such as what it means to be a lawyer, the ethical pitfalls in fee arrangements, civility among attorneys, the ethics of client development and marketing a law practice.
The goals of the GPP are to provide an alternative to the traditional law school curriculum by allowing students to create a sense of professional self while still in law school. More than being simply repositories of substantive knowledge, students actually practice the skills needed for effective lawyering. They learn the importance of ethical conduct and the complexities involved in resolving ethical issues. By putting professionalism issues front and center, the program communicates to students that issues of professional conduct deserve study and reflection. This foundation assists in their continued development throughout the rest of their professional lives.
Tenth Judicial District/Wake County Bar Association’s Professionalism Committee (2007)
In 1991, the Tenth Judicial District and Wake County Bar Association established a Professionalism Committee with the goal of identifying and addressing issues affecting members of the local bar in the broadest sense of professional responsibility, including the member’s obligation to the system of justice, their clients, themselves, their colleagues, and their community. Some of the projects the Committee has undertaken include: 1) the annual Joseph Branch Professionalism Award, which was established in 1991 to honor attorneys who are universally recognized as exemplifying the ideals of professionalism displayed by Joseph Branch, former Chief Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court; 2) development of a Professionalism Creed, which was adopted by the Bar Association in 1997 and which is distributed to all new members; 3) implementation of the Professionalism Support Initiative, which provides confidential peer counseling for attorneys and judges perceived to have evidenced a lack of professionalism; 4) implementation of an annual round-table discussion on ethics and professionalism issues; and 5) organization of a county-wide mentoring program.
The Committee helps promote professionalism by: 1) recognizing lawyers who exemplify professionalism in their practices; 2) promoting relationships among lawyers who might not otherwise have professional contact with each other; 3) building a strong relationship and rapport between the Bar and the bench; and 4) recognizing and addressing quality of life issues.
Memphis Bar Association’s Leadership Forum (2006)
The Memphis Bar Association Leadership Forum is a nine-month experiential leadership program for lawyers who have been in practice for three to eight years. The mission of the Forum is to: 1) develop the leadership skills of attorneys in their early years of practice; 2) empower those attorneys to use their leadership skills to make greater contributions to the Memphis community and the legal profession; 3) model and practice the highest standards of the legal profession; and 4) encourage diversity in the practice of law and the building of relationships among attorneys of diverse backgrounds.
The Leadership Forum begins with a full-day retreat in September at which leadership concepts are introduced and participants get to know one another. Monthly sessions from October through April are held at various locations around the city exploring topics such as Communication Skills, Negotiation, Attorneys Roles in the Community, Balancing Work and Life, and Public Trust and Confidence in the Judicial System. In addition, participants are divided into smaller groups and assigned a mentor. Each small group is charged with developing and implementing a community service project.
Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s Professionalism Program (2006)
In 2002, adopted a broad and far-reaching Professionalism Plan designed to help create a culture of professionalism and service-oriented culture in the law school. It contained 18 initiatives, each an independent project, which together comprised a deliberate plan to take a student from orientation through graduation with a focus on ethics and professionalism. The initiatives undertaken by Cooley include: creating a Center for Public Service and Professionalism, establishing a Standing Professionalism Advisory Committee, reshaping the class on Professional Responsibility, implementing a professionalism and career review for first-year students, creating a student-run mediation board to address conflicts between students, expanding the roles of lawyer/mentors in each student’s development and creating a student ethical oath and standards of professionalism. All 18 initiatives are either completed or in progress and so Cooley is awash in projects, services and student-led activities that have made ethics and professionalism part of the school’s everyday life.
Stetson University College of Law's Student Leadership Development Program (2006)
The Student Leadership Development Program at Stetson University College of Law consists of three main components: 1) a Student Leadership Development Committee, responsible for leadership programming on campus; 2) the Leadership Development Educational Series, which consists of monthly luncheon programs and a special event or retreat for leadership credit during the academic year; 3) the Leadership Development Certificate, presented during the Honor & Awards Ceremony prior to the Commencement ceremony to students who participate in 10 or more leadership programs in their law school career.
From the moment a student matriculates into Stetson’s campus culture, they repeatedly see and hear that professionalism and high standards for interpersonal interactions are expected both on and off campus. To this end, the program facilitates interaction between law students and legal practitioners, members of the judiciary, individuals in government service, esteemed faculty members, and other partners in the legal field in a way that promotes a student’s learning of what is acceptable and appropriate. Students realize that their legal education gained in the classroom is only part of what is necessary to be successful in their future career paths. The skills presented through the program help enhance a student’s ability to interact with others, communicate effectively, make good decisions, and be a positive and contributing member of the profession.
Duke University School of Law’s Blueprint for Lawyer Education and Development (2005)
To further Duke Law School’s goal of producing “well-built” lawyers, the Duke Blueprint to Lawyer Education and Development (LEAD), affirms Duke’s commitment to the seven Blueprint virtues and its expectation that students will internalize them and carry them into their professional careers. The Blueprint principles entreat students to Engage Intellectually, Act Ethically, Lead Effectively, Build Relationships, Serve the Community, Practice Professionalism, and Live With Purpose.
The Blueprint plays a crucial role in all student programming, crossing departmental boundaries and inspiring activities throughout the school. Woven throughout students’ entire academic experiences, the Blueprint is introduced to admitted students before they enroll, so that they make their decision to attend Duke with an appreciation of the emphasis that is placed on professionalism. Once they arrive, students quickly learn that the Blueprint underlies student programs and interactions throughout their academic tenure. Blueprint programming includes: First-Year Orientation, Advising Sessions, Professionalism Mentoring, Professionalism Retreats, a Reading in Ethics course, Ad-hoc Seminars, Focused Professionalism Course, Honor Week, Community Roundtables and Professionalism Awards.
University of St. Thomas School of Law’s Mentor Externship (2005)
The Mentor Externship Program is one of the most distinctive and innovative components of the University of St. Thomas School of Law, focusing on the highest ideals of the legal profession. The Program has four primary objectives: 1) To instill in students a better understanding of the responsibilities of being a professional; 2) To provide students with both an experiential window through which to view the professional world and exposure to the diverse spectrum of work that lawyers and judges do; 3) To create an intergenerational conversation about the practice of law and the profession; and 4) To provide students with the opportunity to share with other students and full-time faculty what they are observing and learning through their mentor experiences.
In each year of law study, every student is paired with respected lawyers and judges in the community. Mentors introduce students to a wide range of lawyering tasks and judicial activities and share with them the traditions, ideals, and skills necessary for a successful career. Each pair is required to engage in a number of lawyering or judicial activities together. Through this hands-on interaction with the bench and bar, students can draw on the skills of a more senior member of the profession to better prepare for life as a lawyer. The environment provides a “real world” framework for each student to test his or her understanding and expectations of professionalism in a way the traditional classroom or lecture cannot capture.
Southern Illinois University School of Law's Professionalism Development Workshop Series for First-Year Law Students (2004)
Southern Illinois University School of Law’s Professionalism Development Workshop Series for First-Year Law Students is designed to introduce first-year students to the major ethical issues they will face as legal professionals and to provide students with structured information and guidance on how to become competent professionals. In the fall semester, students attend a series of ethics and competence-building workshops including: An Introduction to the Law School Student Conduct Code, An Introduction to Legal Ethics, Time Management and Active Learning Skills, and Preparing for a Law School Exam. Mid-semester, the first-year class drafts a Statement of Professional Commitment, which it pledges its commitment to during an induction ceremony attended by the local bench and bar. The spring semester workshops build on the foundations of the previous semester and add a series of career development workshops that introduce students to opportunities and expectations in legal employment. In the second and third years, professionalism training is incorporated into the curriculum and is emphasized in the clinical and externship programs.
Wake Forest University School of Law’s Professionalism Program (2004)
Wake Forest University School of Law’s Professionalism Program is a comprehensive program that emphasizes the importance of professionalism from orientation through the third year of law school. Prior to entering law school students are asked to read a book where the main character is a role model for lawyering. During orientation, students meet in small groups with faculty members to discuss professionalism issues raised in the book and the responsibilities that students and lawyers assume as they enter the legal profession. During orientation week, students also work on a pro bono project within the community, such as a Habitat for Humanity home, and take an oath of professionalism administered by a judge at a formal ceremony. During the fall and early spring semester students attend “First Thursday” professionalism sessions, which focus on an array of professionalism issues such as pro bono obligations, civility, substance abuse and quality of life issues. Wake Forest continues to emphasize professionalism in the second and third year curriculum and through extra-curricular activities, such as legal clinics and an informal “Conversations With . . .” series, which brings lawyers and judges to the school to speak to students about why they became lawyers and their experiences in practice.
Campbell University School of Law's First-Year Professionalism Development Series: Talking with Lawyers About Professionalism (2003)
Campbell University School of Law's First Year Professionalism Development Series: Talking with Lawyers About Professionalism is a comprehensive professionalism experience during the first year of study. During the fall semester, students meet every other week in sessions that combine videotaped presentations and discussions with lawyers and law professors about a lawyer's role as a fiduciary, advocate, interviewer, counselor and negotiator. During the break between their first and second semesters, students take part in a three-day interactive simulation program that explores ethical and professionalism issues in the context of a marital dissolution. In the simulation, students experience firsthand the professional tensions that lawyers confront in managing their multiple and sometimes conflicting goals. During the spring semester, students meet every other week with lawyers and business and personal plight clients to engage in "story-telling" sessions, similar to the types of discussions that used to occur in law firms at the end of the day when lawyers still had time to talk to each other. Topics of these sessions include: "Professionalism from the Perspective of Business Clients," "Representing Clients Engaged in Questionable Business Practices," and "Professionalism from the Perspective of Personal Plight Clients."
Houston Bar Association Professionalism Program (2003)
The Houston Bar Association's Professionalism Program was formalized in 1989 to promote increased professionalism among Houston Bar Association members in their relationships with each other, the judiciary and the public. The Program's activities, which are coordinated under the guidance of the HBA professionalism committee, include: Professionalism Day, "All Ethics" CLE programs, judicial polls, mentoring and clerkship programs and Bench Bar Conferences. In addition, each issue of the HBA's journal, The Houston Lawyer, includes "Profiles in Professionalism," featuring distinguished members of the legal profession giving their personal views on professionalism, and each year one of the journal's six issues is devoted to professionalism and ethics.
In 1989, the HBA Board of Directors unanimously adopted a professionalism mandate that urges all HBA members to uphold the highest standards when dealing with clients, other lawyers and the courts. Copies of this mandate are given to new HBA members and new county judges, and are available to attorneys and the public. In 2003, the HBA began providing copies to every student in a professional responsibility class at the three Houston law schools.
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough Center on Professionalism at the University of South Carolina (2003)
The Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough Center on Professionalism was established at the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1999. The Center's initiatives are largely aimed at disseminating information and providing opportunities for sharing ideas that will lead students, lawyers, judges and academics to think more frequently and more carefully about professionalism issues. The Center has developed a national professionalism website, organized national conferences on professionalism, published professionalism pamphlets for first-year and graduating law students, presented continuing legal education programs, organized co-curricular programs for law students and hosted in-residence jurists and practitioners. The Center also sponsors an annual professionalism essay contest and clinical program professionalism award. The Center continues to develop and implement new initiatives to help positively influence the future conduct of students, lawyers and judges.
East Bay Community Law Center - The Ethics and Professionalism Clinical Education Project (2002)
The ("EBCLC") is the community-based component of the clinical program at Boalt Hall School of Law, of , . In 1988, Boalt students founded EBCLC to meet the growing needs of low-income clients for basic legal services and to broaden students’ educational opportunities by bridging the gap between legal theory and practice. Between 30 to 40 law students from Boalt Hall work at EBCLC each year under the direct supervision of experienced lawyers and clinicians in one of four practice areas: housing, welfare, HIV/AIDS and community economic development. Students are also enrolled in a concurrent clinical seminar entitled "Community Law Practice at EBCLC," during which they study and discuss the real life challenges facing EBCLC, its clients and the students working there.
In 1998, with support from Boalt Hall, EBCLC undertook the Ethics and Professionalism Clinical Education Project to more fully and directly incorporate ethics and professionalism instruction into the clinic and companion course. The course was substantially revised to integrate topics such as lawyer competence, attorney-client privilege and confidentiality, zealous advocacy, conflicts of interest and access to justice. The course and clinic develop students’ abilities to recognize the dilemmas that arise for lawyers in facing conflicts between their basic professional duties and other interests and values. Using a decision-making methodology developed at the clinic, students learn to identify, address and resolve these and other ethical and professionalism issues.
The goals of the Ethics and Professionalism Clinical Education Project are to 1) provide students a hands-on opportunity to learn ethics and professionalism; 2) deepen students’ understanding of ethics and professionalism by exploring these issues in a structured, live-client setting; 3) develop in law students the foundation to become reflective practitioners, a critical tool in making the transition from student to professional; 4) replicate the model in clinics at other law schools to increase the breadth of its success and learn from the experience of others; and 5) enhance the profession as a whole by helping to educate the next generation of lawyers to practice in a more civil and professionally responsible manner.
Yale Law School - Lawyering Ethics Clinic (2002)
The Lawyering Ethics Clinic at Yale Law School provides free legal services to people who have filed grievances against Connecticut lawyers with the Statewide Grievance Committee. In Connecticut, there is no government or bar-sponsored entity charged with prosecuting complaints of lawyer misconduct. Therefore, the complainant, who is often a layperson, has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the lawyer has violated a rule of professional conduct. The Lawyering Ethics Clinic intercedes to provide complainants with counsel so that they may more accurately and effectively present their claims. At the Clinic, law students, supervised by two faculty members, decide which disciplinary cases to solicit for representation, prepare retainer agreements and necessary filings, interview witnesses, conduct legal research, draft hearing briefs, prepare witnesses, collect documentary evidence, and act as lead counsel at administrative hearings. The Clinic also dedicates class time to discussions about rules governing lawyer misconduct and the grievance process.
The goals of the Clinic are to (1) provide law students with direct experience regarding ways that ethical issues arise in the everyday practice of law; (2) provide lay persons with legal counsel in the grievance process to ensure that meritorious claims of ethics violations are clearly and effectively presented for review by the Statewide Grievance Committee; (3) provide law students with an opportunity to develop their own ethical conduct when representing clients. The Clinic enhances professionalism by educating soon-to-be lawyers about their ethical responsibilities and allowing them to practice ethical and professional behavior before becoming members of the bar. The Clinic also improves the public’s perception of lawyers by allowing clients to effectively voice their grievances and by demonstrating that lawyers are willing to challenge other lawyer’s unprofessional conduct.
Fourth Judicial Circuit of Florida Professionalism Committee and the Jacksonville Bar Association Joint Project Global Professionalism Program (2001)
The Fourth Judicial Circuit of Florida Professionalism Committee was established in 1998 and is comprised of circuit and county judges, court officials, presidents of bar associations, and other members of the bar. The Professionalism Committee has worked in conjunction with the existing Professionalism Committee of the Jacksonville Bar Association to enhance professionalism in the Fourth Judicial Circuit.
At the recommendation of the joint committees, the Chief Judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit adopted the Statement of Professionalism, which advises members of the bar of the high standard of professionalism and civility in the Fourth Circuit. Copies of the Statement of Professionalism and the administrative orders are given to attorneys filing a civil action in Duval County and to attorneys in the State Attorney’s Office to give to defense counsel who appear in criminal cases.
In 1999, the joint committees established a Mentor Program, which is intended to increase the degree of professionalism and civility among lawyers by providing new attorneys guidance, experience, and expertise from more experienced attorneys. A mentor relationship may extend for a period of 6 months up to two years. To date, there are 53 mentors and 30 mentees in the program. In addition, the Fourth Circuit Professionalism Committee established a Professional Review Program to allow a judge or lawyer to report to a Professional Review Committee when a lawyer’s conduct, though not a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility, does not meet expected standards in the Circuit. To date, the Professionalism Review Committee has had three complaints, all of which were resolved by a member of the Committee.
In 2000, the Fourth Judicial Circuit of Florida Professionalism Committee along with the Professionalism Committee of the Jacksonville Bar Association co-sponsored a Judicial Symposium to exchange ideas and questions about professionalism among judges and members of the bar. Participants included federal judges from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court, as well as judges from the Florida Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and circuit and county judges. A second symposium was held in February 2001.
Stein Center for Law and Ethics, Fordham University School of Law - Fordham/Stein Center Conferences (2001)
Since 1993, Fordham Law School’s Stein Center for Law has conducted conferences addressing legal ethics and professionalism issues in particular practice areas. The conference topics have included Ethical Issues in Representing Older Clients (1993); Ethical Issues in the Legal Representation of Children (1995); and The Delivery of Legal Services to Low-Income Persons: Professional and Ethical Issues (1998). Prior to a conference, legal scholars and professionals are asked to submit a written article addressing a particular ethics or professionalism issue. At the conference, participants meet in small groups and in plenary session to discuss the issues and to make specific recommendations. At the end of the conference, all participants convene to discuss the recommendations and to decide which to adopt. After the conference, the recommendations, pre-conference articles, a summary of discussions, and post-conference articles are published as the "Proceedings of the Conference" in the Forham Law Review. The goals of the conferences are to develop written materials that enhance lawyers’ understanding of relevant ethics and professionalism issues, encourage lawyers to engage in "best practices" within the bounds of disciplinary rules, promote further discussion on these issues, and encourage courts, rule makers, and lawyers to take further action to promote ethical and professional practices.
The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division - Practicing with Professionalism (2000)
Practicing with Professionalism is a two-day Supreme Court mandated program for all newly admitted lawyers to The Florida Bar. The program is offered 11 times throughout the year around the state. Topics include: Formation and Termination of the Attorney-Client Relationship, Client Relations, Trust Accounting, Chemical Dependency/Stress Management, Advertising, Fees, and Professionalism (includes diversity and gender and racial bias).
The format of the program uses an LCD Freelance Graphics slide show, interspersed with video clips. Interaction is encouraged throughout the program, which focuses on professionalism within each topic area. All participants receive detailed course materials with updated case citations and bar contacts should problems arise.
How the Program Focuses on Professionalism: The objective of the program is to provide two full days of new lawyer training, with the second day being fully dedicated to professionalism. The information provided during the professionalism day provides specific, substantive and interactive training in areas that have been identified as those likely to be problematic for new lawyers. This new program specifically provides the necessary information to empower new lawyers with tools of professionalism, case studies, illustrate applications of these principals and access to informational sources should they have questions. This foundation should help to guide new lawyers through potential pitfalls of the profession, thereby reducing lawyer disciplinary actions, public complaints of unprofessional behavior, and ultimately enhance the image of the legal profession as a whole.
Genesee County Bar Association - Joint Program for Attorney Ethics and Professionalism (2000)
The Genesee County Bar Association and the Centennial American Inn of Court have undertaken many programs to educate local lawyers on professional standards and ethics. The programs have included inviting speakers to monthly membership meetings, publishing articles on professionalism in the Bar Beat, and working with judges regarding courtroom behavior of lawyers.
This year, the two organizations undertook a joint effort to have an Inn program team present a live reenactment of a program examining how to deal with the emotionally difficult client in the context of domestic relations actions. Following the program, the two organizations realized that the Inn could reach a much larger audience if it video taped its programs and provided them to the Bar for use during its "Lunch and Learn" series or by airing them on a local cable television station. The program selected for the initial videotape program is an hour-long skit involving analysis of lawyer advertising standards.
How the Program Focuses on Professionalism: The project is aimed primarily at younger lawyers to expose them to ethical problems and to encourage them to be aware of, and implement in their practices, the highest standards of legal ethics, civility and professionalism.
Emory University Law School – Law School Professionalism Project (1999)
As an outgrowth of informal discussions about the level of professionalism with the law school community, during the 1988/1999 academic year, Emory University undertook to redesign and expand the program on "professionalism" offered at orientation for first year students. Concurrently with this redesign, Emory began a rethinking of the Student Honor Code with the object of basing the Code of Conduct upon the standards of ethics and professionalism required of members of the Bar.
At orientation, first year students met in small groups with volunteer members of the Bar and members of the law school faculty to discuss hypotheticals highlighting the kind of ethical dilemmas that they might face in law school. Materials were designed in collaboration with the Chief Justices’ Commission on Professionalism. The Commission also recruited lawyer participants. The lawyers received CLE professionalism credit for participating.
These sessions were repeated with the same small groups using new materials in October and February. AS a part of the discussion, we introduced a statement of values of our community to be included in our revised Code of Pre-Professional Conduct. The purposes of these sessions were to:
a. Demonstrate to the students, the common understanding between practitioners and legal academics of these issues; (b) to encourage the students to think in terms of their own values and standards of professionalism as pre-professionals and of their responsibility to uphold those values within our community.
This program will be repeated for first year students. Emory is also planning a program for second year students, building on the first year experience. In three years, all three law school classes should be actively involved in on-going discussions of professionalism and ethics throughout the year.
The Florida Bar’s Center for Professionalism and the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism (1999)
In response to the 1986 ABA Report, "….In the Spirit of Public Service," and a 1995 survey by The Florida Bar on lawyer professionalism, The Florida Bar set a goal to establish a Center for Professionalism. The Center, created in 1996, was endorsed by The Florida Bar and the bar requested the Supreme Court of Florida create a commission, chaired by the Chief Justice (or designee), that would establish the policies for the Center and be its governing board. The bar’s Standing Committee on Professionalism provides resources to the Center in aiding implementation of its efforts. Daily operations for the Center are the responsibility of The Florida Bar and funding for the Center comes from the bar’s general fund.
The overriding objective of this entire project is to raise the professionalism aspiration of all lawyers, judges and law students in the state and ensure that the practice of law remains a high calling, enlisted in the service not only of the client, but of the public good as well.
Role of the Supreme Court: The Supreme Court of Florida’s Commission on Professionalism acts as a steering and long-range planning commission for the creation and implementation of professionalism programs and seminars, the commission oversees the development of judicial professionalism programs and the teaching of professionalism in law schools. The commission establishes the policies of the bar’s center and is its governing board. The commission meets at least three times per year to address issues being presented. Members of the commission also speak at functions throughout the state.
Role of the Center for Professionalism: The mission of the Center for Professionalism is to support and encourage law students, lawyers, and judges to exercise the highest levels of professional integrity in their relationship with clients, other lawyers, the courts and the public. This is being accomplished through the following:
- Presentations by speakers, panelists, and facilitators at CLE events, law school orientations on professionalism, as well as mentor programs, articles and columns on professionalism have all served to heighten awareness of issues.
- "Quality control" for the required CLE professionalism courses is being assured through (a) the review of the content of proposed professionalism courses by the Center’s staff; and (b) the introduction of professionalism materials developed by the Center for other CLE courses.
- The Center is extending its focus to include the judiciary working through the existing judicial college by developing programs on issues of judicial professionalism. To date, four seminars have been presented with three more planned this year.
- The Center serves as an archive and a clearinghouse for exchange of information regarding professionalism efforts past and present, local and national.
The Center has established the following: research library in professionalism, CLE seminars, database of research materials, On-line web based professionalism courses, distinguished lecturers, website access, and an ethics school (for diversionary discipline).
Palm Beach County Bar Association – Professionalism Council Peer Review (1999)
The function of the Palm Beach County Bar Association’s Professionalism Council ("Council") is to meet with lawyers who have conducted themselves in a manner inconsistent with the Ideals and Goals of Professionalism, adopted by the Board of Governors of the Florida Bar in 1990 or the Standards of Profession Courtesy adopted by the Palm Beach County Bar Association in 1990. The Council is a peer review group designed to promote compliance with the Ideals and Standards. The Council is composed of the Chief Judge, the Administrative Judge of the Circuit Civil Division, the Administrative Judge of the County Court, the President of the Palm Beach County Bar Association and a representative of the Florida Bar Board of Governors for Palm Beach County’s Judicial Circuit.
The Council was established by an Administrative Order. When a judge within the Palm Beach County Circuit determines that a lawyer has engaged in conduct inconsistent with the Ideals or Standards, the judge may refer the matter to the Council. If any lawyer observes conduct on the part of another lawyer that is inconsistent with the Ideals or Standards, the lawyer may request the Council to consider the matter. While judges refer matters directly to the Council, matters referred by lawyers are screened by the Palm Beach County Bar’s Professionalism Committee. The Professionalism Committee, in its screening of lawyer referrals, operates under Rules and Standards to provide for the efficient handling of lawyer referrals. The Professionalism Committee has developed forms for the referral of matters to the Council.
After the review by the Council, the Council publishes its findings on an anonymous basis in the Palm Beach County Bar Bulletin. Since its enactment in 1997, the Council has reviewed 20 matters. Though the Council has no authority to discipline any lawyer or to compel any lawyer to appear before it, in only one matter did the lawyer invited to attend the meeting fail to appear. In all other matters, the Council has reported positively on the review. The availability of the Council to review referrals is published from time to time by the Professionalism Committee on the bulletin boards of judges’ chambers and in the Palm Beach County Bar Bulletin.
New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in Law (1998)
The New Jersey Commission on Professionalism is a cooperative venture of the New Jersey Supreme Court, the New Jersey State Bar Association, and the state's three law schools. Each entity appoints a designated number of members (17 members in total) and the chair rotates between them every two years. Although New Jersey is a voluntary bar, the New Jersey State Bar Association has agreed to fund the Commission.
The Commission began its work in the fall of 1995, accomplishing the following during its three years of operation: the adoption of Principles of Professionalism, the development of a Professionalism Counseling Program, the introduction of professionalism concepts into substantive courses in New Jersey's Skills and Methods program for new lawyers, an annual symposium on professionalism, bringing together bar leaders, judges and faculty members, promulgation of a Lawyers' Pledge, beginning a law school mentor program, presenting "Lawyer of the Year" awards, continuing legal education programs, seminars, publishing a quarterly newsletter of Commission activities and serving as a resource center for bar associations across the state.
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association & Foundation - Bench-Bar Conference (1998)
For the past 25 years, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association & Foundation has held a conference for members of the bench and the bar. The focus of the weekend retreat is the communication between the bench and the bar and discussion groups aimed at identifying solutions to problems in the judicial system. A focus of the programs in each of the 25 years has been lawyer professionalism. Attendance at the 25th Anniversary Conference to be held May 1-3, 1998 is expected to be 500.
The conference is conducted in a manner designed to give the judiciary and the lawyers the opportunity to discuss common problems matter-of-factly and on a person-to-person basis. This informality allows inter-professional relationships to develop between lawyers and judges. All area courts are represented, from the federal to the municipal level. All segments of the bar are involved.
The conference planners use the forum to educate the local bench and bar about new programs, such as an arbitration program. The conference has also led to the creation of informal conferences that are now available with judges at the local circuit courts.
Founded in 1996, the Center for Ethics and Public Service is an interdisciplinary project devoted to teaching the values of ethical judgment, professional responsibility, and public service in the practice of law. The Center provides training to the law school and University as well as to Florida business, educational and legal communities.
The Center coordinates the first year ethics orientation program, participates in CLE, and organizes workshops and symposia. The Center is organizing symposia on ethics in business, government, and the law jointly with the School of Business Administration and is planning additional joint ventures with the School of Communications and the School of Medicine.
The Center is moving ahead on three new projects serving the Florida educational and legal communities. The Center is developing in-house ethics training and advisory programs with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida and Legal Services of Greater Miami. The Center is planning innovative CLE programs to present participants with interdisciplinary training in ethics and professionalism. The Center is designing ethics instructional programs in conjunction with public and private schools.
Questions regarding recipients should be directed to Theresa Gronkiewicz, Lead Counsel at (312) 988-5299 or via email: [email protected].