FROM CHIEF JUDGE JONATHAN LIPPMAN
Welcome to the website of the Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law.
The Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law was created over a decade ago to join practitioners and judges in a meaningful and visible way to address what has been a continuing crisis of public confidence in the legal profession and to "promote awareness and adherence to professional values and ethical behavior by lawyers in New York State."
We have made notable progress in restoring the public's trust in the legal profession subsequent to the 1995 report issued by the blue ribbon Committee on the Profession and the Courts. Nevertheless, we are still confronted by challenges to the integrity of our profession. Public confidence in our governmental institutions is fragile. The difficult economic climate we now find ourselves navigating only amplifies the pressures on attorneys, firms, judges and the courts to resolve the gamut of social, economic and criminal issues facing our citizens. To be most effective, we, as members of the bar, must remain true to the enduring values which have made the legal profession a positive force for the public good throughout our nation's history.
Over the past decade, the Institute has pursued its mandate by exploring professionalism in the context of how law schools teach ethics, access to legal services for immigrants and new Americans, and the impact and influence of the internet on the delivery of legal services. The Institute has launched its current series of convocations focusing on the influences, pressures and biases affecting "lawyer independence" in different practice contexts.
We have an obligation to raise the profession's collective ethical conscience. Indeed, as a truly self-regulating profession, we are ever vigilant about ensuring the viability of our attorney disciplinary rules and code of judicial conduct. The Institute's mandate offers us a unique opportunity to examine, reflect, and, if need be, consider re-calibrating our ethics protocols. As we mark the Institute's ten year anniversary, I am confident that it will continue to fulfill its mission and present forums that inspire debate, promote professionalism and reinforce the common values we all share as lawyers.
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