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XX. National Professionalism Movement

The Commission maintains a survey of professionalism activities within other states and within the American Bar Association and works closely with the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility and Center for Partnership Programs and with the University of South Carolina School of Law Center on Professionalism.  The Commission seeks opportunities to speak about its work to lawyers and judges far beyond the borders of Georgia and frequently is asked to provide guidance to bench and bar leaders in other states as they undertake professionalism efforts.  For instance, the Commission conducted a program entitled "Professionalism and Lawyer Competence" for the 1994 mid-year meeting of the Conference of Chief Justices.  The Case of the Silent Alarm, one of the  CLE programs developed by the Commission, was used to elicit discussion of ethics and professionalism issues and to demonstrate that a video based professionalism presentation supported by teaching and participant materials can be done effectively.  From that program, the Georgia Commission emerged as the recognized national leader in institutionalizing the professionalism effort among lawyers, and serves a model for the creation of similar commissions and CLE requirements in other states.  The Commission has worked closely with bench and bar leaders in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas in their professionalism efforts.

In 1998, the Commission made the keynote presentation at the conference on professionalism held by the Board of Bar Councilors of the North Carolina State Bar which resulted in the establishment of the North Carolina professionalism effort.  The Commission made a presentation at the 1998 ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada on "Comparative Approaches to Teaching and Learning Professionalism", sponsored by the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and including lawyers and jurists from the United States, Canada, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

At the 1999 Annual Meeting of the National Association of Bar Presidents, the Commission and the Texas Center for Ethics and Professionalism hosted the inaugural meeting of the Consortium of Professionalism Initiatives to explore various approaches to advancing professionalism at the State Supreme Court and State Bar levels.  Created for the purpose of exchanging information pertaining to the national and international professionalism movements, the Consortium holds regular meetings twice each year in conjunction with the Annual and Mid-Year Meetings of the ABA.

National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism (NIFTEP)
In 2005, the Commission joined with the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professionalism as a founding sponsor of the National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism (NIFTEP), a consortium of five nationally-recognized centers on ethics and professionalism:
The Louis Stein Center for Law & Ethics at Fordham University
The Mercer University School of Law Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism
The Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough Center on Professionalism at the University of South Carolina
The Stanford Center on Ethics
The W. Lee Burge Endowment for Law & Ethics at Georgia State University

The First Annual NIFTEP workshop on teaching ethics and professionalism took place in Atlanta, Georgia, from September 23 - 25, 2005, for thirty invited Fellows of the Institute.  Those attending included law professors, practicing lawyers with substantial CLE teaching experience, and state bar officials from several states.

Other presentations include:
  • "The Georgia Experience with Professionalism," New Mexico State Bar, October 1999
  • "How Can Professionalism Be Institutionalized?" 1999 ABA Annual Meeting
  • "Learning to Be a Lawyer: Transition into Practice Pilot Project," 1999 National Conference of Bar Presidents Annual Meeting
  • "Institutionalizing Professionalism," keynote address at the New Mexico State Bar Annual Meeting, and CLE program on The Case of the Silent Alarm: A Study in Professionalism, October 1999
  • "Civility Initiatives of the Georgia Commission on Professionalism," NCBP Mid-Year Meeting in Dallas, 2000
  • "Mentoring - Where Is It Now," ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, ABA Mid-Year Meeting in Dallas, 2000
  • "Law School Programs on Professionalism" 2000 ABA Annual Meeting in New York City
  • "Advice from a Pioneer" (on the Georgia Commission), Regional Conference on Professionalism sponsored by the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law at Seton Hall Law School,  September 2000
  • "Improving the Professionalism of Lawyers: Can Commissions, Committees, and Centers Make a Difference?" the first National Conference on Professionalism sponsored by the Center on Professionalism at the University of South Carolina School of Law, October 2000
  • ABA Steering Committee for the creation of Guide to Attorney Professionalism Commissions
  • "Why a State-wide Professionalism Commission?" 2001 National Conference of Bar Presidents Mid-Year Meeting, February 2001
  • "Initiating Action, Coordinating Efforts, and Maintaining Momentum: The Role of the Court in Promoting Professionalism," Conference of Chief Justices, March 2001
  • "The Georgia Experience with Professionalism," Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Civility, September 2002
  • "Strategies for Professionalism Commissions," University of South Carolina School of Law Symposium on Enhancing the Accountability of Lawyers for Unprofessional Conduct, September 2002
  • "Changes and Growing Pains: Looking Back and Looking Forward," North Carolina Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism, October 2003
  • "The Georgia Experience with Professionalism" meeting of Professionalism Committee, ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, January 2004
  • "The Real Top Ten: Strategies for Building a Reputation for Professionalism," ABA Tort, Trial and Insurance Section, August 2004
  • "Best Practices in Professional Educatio"" ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, August 2004
  • "The Georgia Experience with Professionalism, Alabama Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism," July 2005
  • "The Georgia Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism and Mentoring," Mississippi State Bar Committee on Professionalism, January 2006
  • "Building a Successful Professionalism Commission," National Conference of Bar Presidents, February 2006
  • "State Bar of Georgia's Transition Into Law Practice Program." National Consortium of Professionalism Initiatives, February 2006

To facilitate the consulting process with other state supreme courts and bar associations, the Commission has developed the following booklets:

  • The Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism - History, Mandate, Structure
  • How Can Professionalism Be Institutionalized? - The Georgia Experience
  • Commission Accomplishments and Projects 1989-2003
  • Law School Orientations on Professionalism
  • Town Hall Meetings I: Attorney Concerns About Ethics and Professionalism
  • Town Hall Meetings II: Professionalism in Client Relations <
  • Teaching and Learning Professionalism in Georgia
  • Mentoring Materials: Guidelines for Mentors, Guidelines for Students
  • Transition into Practice Pilot Project
    • Mentor Orientation Notebook
    • Notebooks for Beginning Lawyer CLE Sessions
      • Dealing with Your Client: The Lawyer as Counselor
      • Acting for Your Client: The Lawyer as Advocate and Architect of Future Conduct
      • Negotiating for Your Client: The Lawyer as Negotiator
  • Georgia Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism Presents Ethics and Professionalism Videotape Programs for CLE and Retreat Events
  • Judicial District Professionalism Program