David Bookstaver, Director
Mai Yee, Assistant Director
Date: March 2, 1999
|Lawyer Ethics: The Focus of Newly Appointed Institute on Professionalism in the Law|
|NEW YORK - Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and Chief Administrative
Judge Jonathan Lippman today announced the appointment of the Judicial
Institute on Professionalism in the Law, a permanent commission whose mission
will be to nurture professionalism among the members of the bar. Louis
A. Craco of Willkie, Farr & Gallagher has been named Chair of the Institute,
which will support the organized bar, law schools and other institutions
in undertaking effective programs for the promotion of professional behavior,
and serve as a permanent forum in which the various constituencies of the
profession can convene regularly to study and speak to issues pertaining
to ethics and professionalism.
The Institute's major responsibilities include:
publishing reports on relevant issues; and
Chief Judge Kaye stated, "The legal profession has made enormous contributions to the strength and vitality of our nation and State. But it is no secret that our exploding numbers and increased bottom line pressures have affected the practice of law in ways that have eroded public trust and confidence. In 1993, with the enthusiastic support of the Administrative Board of the Courts, I appointed a blue-ribbon panel of lawyers and judges--the Craco Committee--which studied the causes of public dissatisfaction and recommended a series of major reforms that have successfully elevated the legal profession. I am delighted that Lou Craco has now agreed to continue the important work he began by leading a permanent Institute devoted to studying the many difficult challenges facing the legal profession today and raising the professional aspirations of lawyers in the State."
Chief Administrative Judge Lippman added, "The legal profession in New York has a superb record of service to clients, but as our society and the practice of law grow more complex, it is important that we devote continuing attention to emerging trends that may compromise both our ability to meet the expectations of the public we serve and the best traditions of the legal profession itself. I can conceive of no better vehicle to achieve this goal than the creation of an Institute that focuses on the cultivation of professionalism, builds upon the momentum of the Craco reforms and institutionalizes the shared commitment of the organized bar, the courts and legal educators to reenforcing professionalism and restoring public confidence."
The establishment of an ethics institute was urged in the landmark 1995
Final Report of the Craco Committee, which has generated a series of important
reforms ranging from Mandatory Continuing Legal Education to Standards
of Civility to stronger sanctions rules. In 1996, a Subcommittee of the
Task Force appointed to implement the Craco Committee's recommendations
was asked to determine whether a permanent ethics commission was desirable
and, if so, suggest its function, structure, governance and funding sources.
The Subcommittee issued a report in 1998 concluding that "New York will
benefit substantially from the establishment of a permanent institute for
the advancement of professionalism among the members of the bar."
G. Robert Witmer, Jr., Esq., Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle, LLP, Rochester