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Release: Immediate
Media Contact: Nancy Cowger Slonim
Phone: 312/988-6132
Email: slonimn@staff.abanet.org
Online: www.abanews.org


ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm Creates Commission on Impact
of the Economic Crisis on the Profession and on Public's Legal Needs

CHICAGO, Aug. 4, 2009—“The economic recession has left many lawyers in reduced or deferred employment or out of jobs, while many Americans suffer from legal problems related to the recession, such as evictions, foreclosures, bankruptcies and family disruption caused by financial hardship.  We need to help lawyers and the public weather this storm and move forward.  That’s why I am creating the American Bar Association Commission on the Impact of the Economic Crisis on the Profession and Legal Needs,” newly installed ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm announced today.

“In addition, the public needs a strong legal profession securely in place to address legal issues into the future.  We must preserve a strong, independent legal profession that will continue to work to benefit our clients and serve the larger public good,” Lamm said. 

“I have asked Allan J. Tanenbaum of Atlanta to explore how lawyers can reorganize themselves       to cope with the transforming economy in the short run, and how the profession can position itself to better withstand financial downturns over the long term,” said Lamm.  “I am urging the new commission to move quickly to address in practical ways the impact our national economic distress is having on lawyers now,” said Lamm. 

Tanenbaum said the new commission will assemble ideas and facilitate approaches for projects that can be implemented quickly and that may build on existing collaborations with other bar related national organizations.  Among ideas under consideration are exploring ways to connect underutilized lawyers with people in need of legal services, creating panels of lawyers available to research issues for out-of-state firms, building on lawyer placement services and expanding judicial intern projects, he said.

Lamm also announced creation of a new commission to review lawyer ethics and regulation in light of how technology and globalization have transformed the practice of law, called Commission on Ethics 20/20, and a Commission on Diversity. 

Other members of the Economic Crisis Commission are Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, University of California Law School, Irvine; Thomas Clay of Altman Weil, Inc., Newtown Square, Pa.; M. Joe Crosthwait Jr., Midwest City Okla.; Dean Joanne Epps of Temple University Beasley School of Law, Philadelphia; Michael S. Greco of Boston, a past ABA president; Peter E. Halle, Washington, D.C.; James W. Jones, Hildebrandt International, Washington, D.C.; Bernice K. Leber, New York; Matthew Nelson, Los Angeles; Owen C. Pell, New York; Allan F. Ramsaur of Nashville; Stephen D. Susman, New York; Mark H. Tuohey, Washington, D.C.; and Dean Patricia D. White, University of Miami School of Law, Coral Gables.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization 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.

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