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XI. Town Hall Meetings I

Attorney Concerns about Ethics and Professionalism (1992-1994)

A. Description

Demonstrating that it views the professionalism effort as a state-wide, grass roots movement, the Commission in late 1992 and early 1993 conducted a series of Town Hall Meetings around the state entitled "Attorney Concerns about Ethics and Professionalism." The overriding objective of the meetings was to assist and encourage lawyers, judges, and legal educators to come to a shared vision of the profession. The meetings were held in twelve communities (Albany, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Decatur, Gainesville Macon, Marietta, Rome, Savannah, Valdosta, Waycross) and attracted nearly 1000 participants who completed questionnaires eliciting their concerns and suggestions about the profession. The information gathered from the responses to the questionnaires was collated and used to focus breakout group discussions at the Fifth Annual Convocation on Professionalism in 1993, and has served to inform and direct the agenda of the Commission. At the 1993 Annual Meeting of the ABA, the Commission's Town Hall Meetings project was recognized as recipient of the E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award which honors bar associations, law schools, and other non-profit organizations for projects designed to enhance professionalism.

B. Results

The Law School Orientations on Professionalism and the Law Practice Management Program of the State Bar were developed in response to two major challenges for which Georgia's lawyers sought help at the Town Hall Meetings: (1) the expansion of ethics and professionalism in the law school curriculum; (2) facing the economic pressures of modern law practice.