As part of our Redesigning Legal Speaker Series, on October 20 IAALS and its partners explored how regulatory reform efforts can strike a balance between broader access to justice, sustainable access, and public protection.
Video of the event is available below, and a video with transcript is available here.
Public protection has long been the stated justification for our strict licensing and regulation of lawyers—and the broader practice of law. Yet in our multi-jurisdictional and increasingly remote practice environment, lawyers who innovate are put in the crosshairs of unauthorized practice of law (UPL). Is it time for things to change? In a time when legal deserts—many of which are in areas bordering multiple jurisdictions—are widespread, access to justice is more critical than ever, and regulatory reform efforts are gaining unprecedented momentum, how can we strike a balance between broader access, sustainable practice, and public protection?
This panel included Mike Kennedy, bar counsel for the Vermont Judiciary, and Wendy Muchman, professor at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. Their conversation was moderated by Lynda Shely, ethics lawyer at the Shely Firm PC.
Approved for one hour of Colorado CLE credit.
Mike Kennedy has been Vermont Bar Counsel since 2012. He administers Vermont’s Bar Assistance Program, which focuses on proactive guidance on issues related to the Rules of Professional Conduct and law office management. It includes responding to ethics inquiries, presenting continuing legal education seminars, overseeing Vermont’s disciplinary diversion program, and providing referrals and assistance to lawyers and judges with behavioral health issues. From 2000–2012, Mike was Vermont’s Disciplinary Counsel.
Mike is a former president of the Vermont Bar Association and the current chair of the Vermont Bar Association’s Pro Bono Committee. He sits on both the Vermont Commission for the Well-Being of the Legal Profession and the Vermont Bar Association’s COVID-19 Response Committee. He is also on the Board of Directors at RunVermont.
Wendy Muchman is the Harry B. Reese Professor of Practice at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. Since 2000 she has primarily taught classes in professional responsibility, including the standard ABA-required course in Legal Ethics. In addition, along with another lecturer, Ms. Muchman developed and currently teaches several innovative ethics courses, including "Legal Ethics for the Global Practitioner;" "Legal Ethics for Business Lawyers;" "Legal Ethics for the Government and Public Sector Attorney;" "Ethics in Motion, AI, Technology, and Ethics;" and "The Law of Whistleblowing."
In 2019–2020, she was the recipient of the Robert Childres Award, presented annually to the faculty member selected by the student body as the year’s most outstanding teacher. In 2018–2019, she received the award for Outstanding Professors of a Small Class, with Mary Foster.
Lynda Shely of the Shely Firm, PC, Scottsdale, Arizona, provides ethics advice to over 1,700 law firms in Arizona and the District of Columbia. She also assists lawyers in responding to initial bar charges, performs law office risk management reviews, and trains law firm staff in ethics requirements. Lynda serves as an expert witness and frequently presents continuing legal education programs around the country. Prior to opening her own firm, she was the director of lawyer ethics for the State Bar of Arizona. She is a past president of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers and the Scottsdale Bar Association, and is currently the 2020–2021 chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, an Arizona delegate in the ABA House of Delegates, and serves with several other non-billable groups on professional responsibility topics. Lynda has received awards for her contributions to the legal profession, including the 2007 State Bar of Arizona Member of the Year award, the Scottsdale Bar Association’s 2010 Award of Excellence, and the 2015 AWLA-Maricopa Chapter Ruth V. McGregor award. She has been an adjunct professor at all Arizona law schools, teaching professional responsibility.