February 21, 2013
Path to Professionalism
~ written by Lee Evans, Chair, Columbus Bar Professionalism Committee
The Professionalism Committee was created in 1987 in response to the perception that there had been an increase in unprofessional behavior among the members of the Columbus Bar and, in particular, among attorneys coming into this area from elsewhere to practice. Since that time, I am certain there have been many more examples of professional behavior by members of the profession than the opposite, however, now and again we all see or hear of examples of lawyers acting badly. On those occasions, the importance of maintaining a lively and vigorous Columbus Bar Professionalism Committee again comes into focus. It seems that many members of the Bar agree with this concept as the Professionalism Committee has one of the larger membership lists of any of the CBA committees.
The question becomes what should our Committee be doing to remain relevant, to assist its members and the Bar as a whole, with professionalism matters, realizing that we are all very busy and are much more likely to take the time to attend Bar committee meetings pertaining to substantive areas in which we practice than to attend a regularly scheduled Professionalism Committee meeting.
To be sure, the Committee will continue to sponsor one or more CLEs each year, often in conjunction with the closely related Ethics Committee. These CLEs have become known for providing relevant, high quality material. (The recent seminar in December was no exception, and I would be remiss if I did not again thank the presenters – Mike Close, Lee Bass, James Ervin and Christine Corl, as well as the superb CBA staff.) We will also continue to reach out to our area law schools in an effort to continue our support of their mission to educate future lawyers in the areas of professionalism and ethics. But what else can and should we be doing?
For starters, this is the first effort at a "Path to Professionalism" column which we hope will appear in the Daily Reporter three or four times per year. If anyone is interested in suggesting topics for this column, or would like to be a "guest columnist," please let me know. It is my hope that these columns can generate discussion and reflection on what it means to be a lawyer, why we became lawyers and how we can make the profession better from a professionalism standpoint.
Additionally, we will attempt to use technology to provide information on the topic of professionalism. Specifically, we will regularly post information on the committee webpage located on the Columbus Bar website. The first message has been posted and, as will often be the case, it provides information concerning recent developments and articles on the subject of lawyer professionalism. All members of the CBA can access the webpage and, if so inclined, provide comment back to the group using the committee listserve address: email@example.com.
I look forward to further developing these, and perhaps other, ideas with the goal of keeping the ideals associated with lawyer professionalism in the forefront of our thinking and, along the way, perhaps celebrating the privilege that we all have as members of the legal profession.