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ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm Creates Ethics Commission to Address
Technology and Global Practice Challenges Facing U.S. Lawyers

Other Initiatives Respond to Recession, Advance Diversity

CHICAGO, Aug. 4, 2009—American Bar Association President Carolyn B. Lamm of Washington, D.C., announced formation of the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 as she assumed the leadership position at the close of the association’s 2009 Annual Meeting in Chicago.

“Technological advances and globalization have changed our profession in ways not yet reflected in our ethics codes and regulatory structure.  Technologies such as e-mail, the Internet and smart phones are transforming the way we practice law and our relationships with clients, just as they have compressed our world and expanded international business opportunities for our clients.”  said Lamm.

The ethics commission will review lawyer ethics rules and regulation across the United States in the context of a global legal services marketplace.

“Its work will be guided by three simple principles:  protect the public, preserve core professional values, and maintain a strong, independent and self regulated profession.  Reshaping the U.S. legal profession to better serve clients and lawyers in this evolving environment will require a clear vision of the future.  It will require 20/20 vision,” Lamm emphasized.

Lamm also announced creation of a Commission on the Impact of the Economic Crisis on the Profession and Legal Needs, as well as a Commission on Diversity.

Lamm selected ethics commission members from across the spectrum of the legal profession.  They include small firm lawyers, judges, in-house counsel, former government lawyers and lawyers practicing in large firms.  Co-chairs are Jamie S. Gorelick, former deputy attorney general of the United States, and Michael Traynor, former president of the American Law Institute.  Gorelick practices in the areas of defense and other government contracts and national security in Washington, D.C., and Traynor is a Berkeley lawyer who litigates intellectual property and First Amendment issues.

Other commission members are Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University School of Law; Jeffrey B. Golden of London; George W. Jones Jr. of Washington, D.C.; Senior Justice Elizabeth B. Lacy of the Supreme Court of Virginia; Judith A. Miller of San Francisco; Judge Kathryn A. Oberly of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals; Roberta Cooper Ramo, a past ABA president; Herman Joseph Russomanno of Miami; Theodore Schneyer, a professor at the University of Arizona; Carole Silver, executive director of the Georgetown Law Center for the Study of the Legal Profession; Frederic S. Ury of Fairfield, Conn.; Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle of the North Dakota Supreme Court; and Judge Diane P. Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  Liaisons to the commission are Donald B. Hilliker of Chicago, representing the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility; Steven C. Krane of New York, representing the ABA Board of Governors; Robert E. Lutz II, a professor at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, representing the ABA Task Force on International Trade in Legal Services; and Philip H. Schaeffer of New York, representing the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility.  The commission’s reporter is Keith R. Fisher, who was a visiting professor for 2008-09 at Franklin Pierce Law Center, Concord, N.H.  Ellyn S. Rosen, senior counsel in the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, staffs the commission.

The commission is a new project for the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, and will supplement the work of existing committees on client protection, ethics and professional responsibility, professional discipline and professionalism.

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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