Abraham Lincoln advised that “the best way to predict the future is to create it.” Presently, the leaders of our legal profession stand at a crossroads in this construction effort. To maintain the status quo is not an option. Too many in our profession are too exhausted, too impaired, too disengaged, or too self-absorbed to develop into their best selves. Many find themselves in a profession drained of civility and compassion and plagued by chronic stress, poor self-care, and high rates of depression and alcohol abuse. The result is that the profession is not living up to its full potential as an institution in which attorneys can thrive, best serve their clients, and contribute to a better society. Further, research shows that the current state of lawyers’ health cannot sustain a profession that depends upon the public trust, and is grounded in a tradition of self-regulation.
In this program, panelists James Coyle and Tracy Kepler will provide information on two recent studies that revealed the high rates of substance use and mental health disorders among law students and lawyers, statistics that served as catalysts for a Report from the National Task Force on Attorney Well-Being. They will present recommendations to multiple legal stakeholders, including legal employers, regulators and bar associations, on what they can each do to institute a culture change so that well-being becomes a priority. Much focus will be placed on Rule 1.1 (competence) of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and the recognition that well-being is an essential aspect of competent and ethical practice. The speakers will present information on how all members of the profession can work to promote attorney well-being, and in so doing ensure fitness to practice, competent representation and ethical engagement.
Please note: this course will be for general credit only in Virginia.
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.
Jim Coyle is Attorney Regulation Counsel for the Colorado Supreme Court. Mr. Coyle oversees attorney admissions, attorney registration, mandatory continuing legal and judicial education, attorney discipline and diversion, regulation of the unauthorized practice of law and inventory counsel matters. Mr. Coyle has been a trial attorney with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel or successor Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel since 1990. Prior to that, he was in private practice. He earned his law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1985.
Mr. Coyle is actively involved on a national level with the National Client Protection Organization (NCPO), the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC), and the International Conference of Legal Regulators (ICLR). He served on the NOBC board of directors from 2014 – 2016, and currently serves as NOBC liaison to the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) Committee on ABA Model Rules on Advertising and as a member and co-chair of the CoLAP/NOBC/APRL National Task Force on Lawyer Well-being.
Recent committee work includes programming work on and hosting the first ABA Center for Professional Responsibility (CPR)/NOBC/Canadian Bar Association Regulators Workshops on proactive, risk-based regulatory programs, in Denver in May 2015, in Philadelphia in June 2016, Washington, D.C. in September 2016, and St. Louis in June 2017; acting as co-chair and organizer of the First ABA Standing Committee on Client Protection UPL School in Denver in August 2013, member of the planning team for Chicago in April 2015 and October 2017; participating in the NOBC Program Committee and International Committee, including as Chair of the Entity Regulation Subcommittee, now known as the Proactive Practice Management Programs Committee; and NOBC Aging Lawyers and Permanent Retirement subcommittees. Mr. Coyle is also an active member of the Colorado Chief Justice Commission on Professional Development and its mid-career working group, the CBA/DBA Professionalism Coordinating Council and its subcommittee on a professionalism rule, the Supreme Court Standing Committee on the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, and the University of Colorado Law Alumni Board’s Diversity Committee.
This should be mandatory course. Also best team lecture I've viewed to date.
Important topics, but geared for larger organizations -- and in particular the managing committees of those entities. Still, it was clear the presenters cared deeply about these issues.
A very likable and very caring pair of professionals who can hopefully make a difference in this amorphous facet of the law.. I enjoyed their presentation immensely. Best of luck to their endeavors. i
glad to see these sentiments expressed.
Valuable and critical information for lawyer well-being
One of, if not the best CLE I have watched. Thank you.
Fantastic seminar which should be required viewing for all regulators.
This was some of the BEST content I have heard/read in YEARS! I think if I had worked with partners who took this kind of approach to life, I may have enjoyed working in a law firm a LOT more. The overworked, don't take a break, don't spend time with your family mentality is completely overrated! I also appreciate the nuance the presenters mentioned to thinking about WHY some people are uncomfortable at firm functions with a lot of alcohol. There are sooooo many reasons why people don't drink (health, family history, life choice, religion, etc.) and no one EVER talks about that. They just assume everyone drinks and you're "different" if you don't want to hang out at the bar for the meeting after the meeting. Again, I enjoyed this CLE. PLEASE pass on this message to presenters to continue their advocacy to get this message to law school students. They don't have to give up their lives and wellbeing to practice law.
Great presenters and effective conversational format. Thanks!
Bravo! Finally some real suggestions for how to improve this issues in our profession. THE HIGHER UPS need to be required to watch this and their pay should be determined by their implementation of these checklists. Well done.
Should be a required program for all lawyers, should be more courses like this.
Great and effective presenters.
Good suggestions and presentation!
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