About the Bar

 V. Response to Georgia Professionalism Effort


The response among lawyers and judges to the professionalism movement in Georgia has been overwhelmingly positive.  Some of those who were at first skeptical have come forth, such as the Emory Law School professor who confessed: "At first, I thought all this professionalism business was just fluff; but now that I've seen the enthusiasm and heard the questions that students bring into the classroom from the Orientations on Professionalism, I'm a convert.  We are being challenged to talk about professionalism in the  practice of law."  The Commission has found that the lawyers and judges in Georgia are eager to talk about professionalism issues, to explore ways of handling professionalism and ethical dilemmas that occur in the practice of law, to voice their concerns about the practice of law and the administration of justice - if they see results from these efforts.  Results can take the form of strategies for dealing with a "win at all costs" attitude in opposing counsel and  improving client relations skills, state bar programs to assist lawyers in the everyday practice of law, transition programs from law school to practice.  In written and oral evaluations of the professionalism effort, the Commission has received responses such as:

"The heightened awareness of professionalism that exists today among the members of the State Bar is often taken for granted.  Ten years ago this was not the case."
Georgia Lawyer

"A dozen years ago, we never talked about professionalism.  Now we talk about it all the time."
Federal District Judge

"Any time lawyers can get together and discuss professionalism, it refocuses my practice from a professionalism standpoint."
Participant at CLE seminar

"Increase the Professionalism CLE requirement to 2 hours each year, and make one of them a meeting like this one."
Participant at Town Hall Meeting

"I like your program.  We all need to be supportive of it."
Georgia Appellate Judge

"All lawyers should know that this [professionalism] is a high priority item even in earliest legal training."
Georgia Appellate Judge

"These kinds of programs allow us to test what's acceptable without risks.  We learn what other lawyers think about the resolution of a dilemma and talk about it."
Participant at ICLE Seminar

"The program helped me to better deal with clients.  Continue to do the good work."
Participant at Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Seminar

"Justice Kennedy began program on inspirational role - that's why I come to Convocations - to be inspired about my role and work as a lawyer - and I left a more committed one."
Participant at Convocation on Professionalism

"I appreciate all of the good work that is being done in this area.  It is important that all of us work to make sure that those who are entering the practice of law are aware of how strongly many of us feel about what lack of professionalism is doing to our profession.  If I can be of any assistance to you, please let me know."
Superior Court Judge

"The main thing about this program was that it gave us a focus of how we should act, how we should be - not crass, cold lawyers out to make money -- we should be professional, ethical, and moral.  To me, all three go hand in hand.  By doing this during orientation, it sends the right message."
Student at Law School Orientation on Professionalism

"Your Commission really is important so congratulations on all of your efforts and that of members of the Commission."
Letter from Georgia Lawyer

"[I]t was clear to me that the orientation program . . . had a significant effect on the students.  I observed a sense of relief among the students in learning that the duties of an advocate do not require lawyers to leave their personal values at the courthouse door."
Lawyer Leader at Law School Orientation on Professionalism

"Your work is important, and if ever I can help, let me know."
Senior Federal District Judge

"Participation in the discussion groups is a real learning experience.  Reinforces the importance of values in law practice."
Lawyer Leader at Law School Orientation on Professionalism

"I was impressed by the sincerity of your mission.  You have certainly helped me to recognize that there are forces at work within the legal profession attempting to address the concerns of businessmen . . . .  I would like very much to continue the dialogue with the profession through your commission."
Chairman and CEO of an Atlanta company

"Very valuable program.  Good to see interaction of academic (law faculty) and practice (attorney) - important to our common goal."
Faculty Leader at Law School Orientation on Professionalism

"The format allowed me to share and learn from others with different points of view."
Participant at Alumni Seminar