May 24, 2017

ABA ethics meeting to include programs on Ferguson, workplace bias and lawyer addictions

CHICAGO, May 24, 2017 — The American Bar Association will convene its 43rd National Conference on Professional Responsibility in St. Louis in early June, with an array of programs, including panels on implicit bias in the workplace, legal lessons from Ferguson and the health and well-being of lawyers.

43rd National Conference on Professional Responsibility
Sponsored by the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility

June 1-2, 2017

Hyatt Regency in St. Louis at The Arch
315 Chestnut Street
St. Louis, MO 63102

The conference, sponsored by the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, is the pre-eminent educational and networking opportunity in the field of legal ethics and professional responsibility. Leading experts, scholars and practitioners from across the country will address trends and developments in legal ethics, professional discipline, professionalism and practice issues.

On Thursday evening, Robert A. Creamer will receive the Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award, named in honor of Michael Franck, the late director of the State Bar of Michigan and long-time champion of improvements in lawyer regulation in the public interest. Creamer, who retired about a decade ago as an executive with Attorneys’ Liability Assurance Society, Inc., was a longtime member of the Committee on Professional Conduct of the Illinois State Bar Association and instrumental in recommendations to the Illinois Supreme Court for changes in the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, among other lasting achievements. 

Programs at the two-day conference include:

“Implicit Bias in the Legal Workplace: Moving from ‘Who is Biased?’ to ‘What Can We Do About It?’ ” — This panel will explore how implicit bias — the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner — works and how it affects day-to-day decisions and the exercise of discretion in the legal workplace. Among areas that will be covered are associate development and partner promotion in law firms and other legal organizations; interactions with clients and relationships with opposing counsel.

Thursday, 9-10:40 a.m., Grand Ballroom D/E, 4th Floor

“Confronting Ferguson: Ethical Dilemmas for Lawyers and Judges” — This panel will examine the events of Ferguson beginning with the shooting of unarmed Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014, by police officer Darren Wilson, and how those events may help lawyers and judges to better understand their professional responsibilities. Ferguson posed many complex ethical issues including conflicts of interest, bias and discrimination, prosecutor conduct, the challenges faced by defense counsel for a police officer and, of course, the role of the courts in maintaining fairness and upholding justice.

Thursday, 3:40-5 p.m., Grand Ballroom D/E, 4th Floor

“Policy, Process & Prevention: A Systems Approach to Improving the Health & Well-Being of the Profession” — The program will highlight key results of the Survey of Law Student Well-Being and the 2016 landmark study conducted by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs. Panelists, who include the study’s lead author, Patrick Krill, will look at profession-wide practices and cultural norms related to drinking, drug use and psychological well-being.

Friday, 3:40-5 p.m., Grand Ballroom A/B/C, 4th Floor

The CPR is the national leader in developing and interpreting standards and scholarly resources in legal and judicial ethics, professional regulation, professionalism and client protection. Its many publications   provide up-to-date information and analysis regarding lawyer and judicial ethics and regulation. Also the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issues a series of formal opinions to help guide lawyers and judges.

A complete conference agenda can be found online.

For media credentials and more information, please contact Bill Choyke at 202-662-1864 or

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement on line. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.