ABA President Carolyn Lamm says
association is moving in the right direction
BY JAMES PODGERS
COMING AS IT DOES AT roughly the halfway point of the ABA year, the aptly named midyear meeting ives the association’s leadership a chance to collectively catch its
breath and measure progress on various
initiatives and policy priorities.
In an interview with the ABA Journal
a few weeks before the Feb. 3 meeting
in Orlando, Fla., President Carolyn B.
Lamm said she is optimistic about the
ABA’s general direction and achievements on a number of fronts.
“I’m very encouraged about where
we are,” said Lamm, a partner at White
& Case in Washington, D.C. Her term
will end at the close of the annual meeting in San Francisco.
“We’ve made progress on every issue
Two of Lamm’s
will be prominent at
the midyear, which
runs through Feb. 9.
The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20
will hold the first in a
series of public hearings to receive input
on issues relating to
the regulation of lawyers in the United
States during an era of
increasing globaliza-tion and advances in technology. Lamm appointed the commission shortly
after starting her term in August 2009. Its name recalls the Ethics 2000 Commission that conducted a full review of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct a decade ago, but Lamm gave the new commission an even
broader mission—to look at lawyer regulation in a global context.
“There have been such dramatic changes in the law in the past decade or
so,” she said. “We must assess what best practices are in how the legal pro-
fession is regulated.”
The issues the commission plans to address include several that arise
because U.S. lawyers continue to be regulated by states in which they are
licensed even though their work takes them increasingly across state lines
and even international borders. The commission also will look at how tech-
nology enhances cross-border practice by lawyers.
The 15-member commission is co-chaired by Jamie Gorelick, a former U.S.
deputy attorney general who now is a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering
Hale and Dorr in Washington, D.C.,
and Michael Traynor, a lawyer in
Berkeley, Calif., who chairs the coun-
cil of the American Law Institute.
DUE FOR A CHANGE
THE MIDYEAR MEETING AGENDA IN-
cludes a program on Feb. 5, titled
“Smart Soloing: Success Strategies
for Diverse Lawyers,” that is part of
a distance learning series being presented by the commission to address
various practice issues from the perspectives of race, ethnicity, disability,
gender, sexual orientation and gender identity. Lawyers around the
country will be able to view a web-cast of the program as it is being presented live in Orlando. (The series is
supported in part by funding from
At another midyear meeting program, the commission will present a
report evaluating possible next steps
for improving diversity in the legal
profession that was prepared by an
advisory group using information
gathered in conjunction with last
year’s diversity summit.
A key proposal likely to come before the ABA’s policymaking House
of Delegates in Orlando would outline a new dues structure for association members. Details of the proposal
may not be finalized until just before
the midyear meeting, but Lamm
said she wants to see an approach
that departs from the pattern of increasing dues every three or four
years. (The House last approved a
dues increase in 2006.)
ABA membership currently accounts for 30-35 percent of licensed
lawyers in the
but Lamm said
that number must
“My objective is
to increase the ABA market penetration to 50 percent of the profession,”
she said, “and you can’t do that under the current structure.” ■
Carolyn Lamm (top) and the House of Delegates will
likely address a new ABA dues structure in Orlando.
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