PROFESSIONAL CHALLENGES IN LARGE FIRM PRACTICES
April 15, 2005, 9:00 a.m. - 5:45 p.m.
Fordham University School of Law
Fordham University School of Law, Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics
American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professionalism
W. Lee Burge Endowment for Law & Ethics at the Georgia State University College of Law
NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education
New York State Bar Association Committee on Attorney Professionalism
New York State Judicial Institute on Professionalism
About the Program
This Conference will examine professional challenges facing large law firms as the nature of legal practice changes in the early 21st Century. Can law firms continue to meet the challenge of enhancing young lawyers’ professional development? Can they maintain a high quality of practice-and their lawyers’ quality of life-given the pressures of the billable hour? Can they serve the public good? And what, if anything, can other institutions do to encourage and support law firms in the pursuit of new and better management practices? Participants will be challenged to offer concrete, forward-looking recommendations. Articles written in connection with the Conference will be published in the Fordham Urban Law Journal. The Conference is scheduled in conjunction with the annual Award for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching Professionalism, sponsored by the ABA and the Conference of Chief Justices.
SPEAKERS & PROGRAM (as of February 14, 2005)
9:00: Welcome: Dean William Treanor
Introduction: Professor Bruce Green
9:00:THE ROLE OF LAW FIRMS IN THE EDUCATIONAL CONTINUUM (90 minutes)
The idea that large firms give associates superior training has been questioned in recent years. Are there still adequate opportunities for professional development in light of the changes in the culture, structure and practices of large firms? What roles are played by mentors, feedback and evaluations, professional development departments, and in-firm educational programs? Are there alternative models for improving the training of lawyers in large firms? This panel will examine contemporary models for sustaining the education of lawyers and contrast strategies that may work well with those that may be deficient.
DONALD E. BRADLEY, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
DRAKE COLLEY, New York City Law Department
CLARK D. CUNNINGHAM, W. Lee Burge Professor of Law & Ethics, Georgia State U. Col. of Law
VILIA HAYES, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLC
MARGARET RAYMOND, University of Iowa College of Law
PAUL SAUNDERS, Cravath, Swaine & Moore (Moderator)
11:00: BALANCING QUALITY OF LIFE AND DELIVERY OF LEGAL SERVICES WITH THE DEMANDS OF THE BILLABLE HOUR
Commentators have targeted the billable hour as both a symbol and a root cause of myriad perceived problems in large firm practices, ranging from lawyers’ professional dissatisfaction and poor mental and physical health, to inflated billings, high associate turnover, inadequate training and supervision, incivility, and lawyers’ decreasing ability to meet their responsibilities to family and community. Are the problems identified with the billable hour as extensive as critics suggest? Is the billable hour truly the cause or merely a symptom of the problems? Are there additional explanations for the perceived problems and can they be solved by changes in billing practices, work assignments, attorney monitoring, employment arrangements, or law firm culture or structure?
SUSAN SAAB FORTNEY, Texas Tech Univ. School of Law
STEVEN C. KRANE, Proskauer Rose LLP; past president, NYSBA
BRUCE MacEWEN, Founder, "Adam Smith, Esq."
ROSTAIN, New York Law School
JAMES E. TOWERY, Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel, Inc.; past president State Bar of California
KENNETH G. STANDARD, Epstein Becker & Green P.C.; president, NYSBA (Moderator)
12:30: Lunch (on your own)
2:00: KEYNOTE SPEEECH
MICHAEL S. GRECO, President-Elect, American Bar Association
2:30: CAN LAW FIRMS DO GOOD WHILE DOING WELL? (90 minutes)
To what extent should law firms have a responsibility for or interest in serving the public good? How can a commitment to the public good be integrated into the demanding large firm practice? Are current business models of large firms inherently inconsistent with maintaining a commitment to public service or to diversity? This panel will consider whether the behaviors in large law firms measure up to the ideals that many firms champion. Panelists will consider and comment on strategies that could enhance the role of large firms in serving the public.
LAURA NYANTUNG BENY, University of Michigan Law School
LOUIS A. CRACO, chair, NYS Judicial Institute on Professionalism
LAWRENCE J. FOX, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP; past chair, ABA Section of Litigation
RUSSELL G. PEARCE, Fordham University School of Law
DEBORAH RHODE, Ernest W. McFarland Professor, Stanford Law School
GAIL A. FLESHER, Davis Polk & Wardwell (Moderator)
4:15: CAN BAR ASSOCIATIONS, COURTS, LAW SCHOOLS, THE MEDIA OR OTHERS INFLUENCE LAW FIRMS’ PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES? (90 minutes)
Panelists will examine the idea that other institutions can positively influence large firms, if only in subtle ways, by expressing a commitment to professional values and ideals, providing a forum for discussion among practitioners, collecting and distributing information about law firm practices, and engaging in analyses and making recommendations. What role should bar and other professional associations, courts, disciplinary agencies, law schools and the media play in influencing large firms’ professional practices? And how receptive to this influence will business-oriented firms be?
JOHN T. BERRY, executive director, Michigan State Bar; chair, ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism
ELIZABETH CHAMBLISS, New York Law School
NORMAN S. FLETCHER, Chief Justice, Georgia Supreme Court
ARIC PRESS, editor in chief, The American Lawyer
KIRK RADKE, Kirland & Ellis LLP
JAMES M. ALTMAN, Bryan Cave LLP (Moderator)
For more information contact:
Joyce Raskin, Project Director, Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics
T: 212.636.6988 | F: 212.636.6899 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Herman, Director, Academic Programs
T: 212.636.6885 | F: 212.636.6984 | E: email@example.com
Information about the National Award for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching Professionalism is available at: http://law.gsu.edu/ccunningham/Professionalism/Index.htm