It’s been called the “Senior Tsunami” – the wave of attorneys reaching retirement age and beyond. This program will cover the challenges faced by the profession, and those working within it, with an aging, and often times, cognitively impaired population. How do you respond when an attorney begins to exhibit signs of cognitive impairment? What are your ethical responsibilities to the firm, its clients and the lawyer? What resources are available to guide your decision-making and find help? What rules/policies are currently in place to govern the disciplinary problems that often times result, and what are some suggestions for the future?
We will discuss answers to these questions, as well as the medical issues associated with aging, the effects on an attorneys’ ability to practice, disciplinary perspectives, risk management and potential malpractice actions, and the resources available to those impacted by the “graying” of the profession.
Tracy L. Kepler is the Director of the American Bar Association’s Center for Professional Responsibility (CPR), providing national leadership in developing and interpreting standards and scholarly resources in legal and judicial ethics, professional regulation, professionalism and client protection. In that role, she manages and coordinates the efforts of 18 staff members and 13 entities including five ABA Standing Committees (Ethics, Professionalism, Professional Regulation, Client Protection, and Specialization), the ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct, the Center’s Coordinating Council and other Center working committees.
From 2014-2016, Ms. Kepler served as an Associate Solicitor in the Office of General Counsel for the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), where she concentrated her practice in the investigation, prosecution and appeal of patent/trademark practitioner disciplinary matters before the Agency, U.S. District Courts and Federal Circuit, provided policy advice on ethics and discipline related matters to senior management, and drafted and revised Agency regulations. From 2000-2014, she served as Senior Litigation Counsel for the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC), where she investigated and prosecuted cases of attorney misconduct.
From 2009-2016, Ms. Kepler served in various capacities, including as President, on the Board of the National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC), a non-profit organization of legal professionals whose members enforce ethics rules that regulate the professional conduct of lawyers who practice law in the United States and abroad. Ms. Kepler also taught legal ethics as an Adjunct Professor at American University’s Washington College of Law. Committed to the promotion and encouragement of professional responsibility throughout her career, Ms. Kepler has served as the Chair of the CPR’s CLE Committee and its National Conference Planning Committee, and is a frequent presenter of ethics related topics to various national, state and local organizations. She has also served as the NOBC Liaison to the ABA CPR Standing Committees, and to the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP), where she was a Commission member, a member of its Advisory Committee, the Chair of its Education and Senior Lawyer Committees, and also a member of its National Conference Planning Committee. Ms. Kepler also participates as a faculty member for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) trial and deposition skills programs, and served as the Administrator of the NOBC-NITA Advanced Advocates Training Program from 2011-2015. She is a graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and received her law degree from New England School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts.
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