Sexual harassment in the workplace grabbed the attention of the media in 2017 with revelations about powerful men like Harvey Weinstein. The #MeToo Movement has placed a spotlight on the structures in business, education, government, and the legal profession that allow those in power to abuse their authority. This half-day conference sponsored by the Jacob Burns Center for Ethics in the Practice of Law at Cardozo Law School and the Cardozo Women's Law Initiative will focus on the structural change in the legal profession.
The conference will focus on two issues. The first issue is what are the range of options available to lawyers who are asked to lend their professional skill and expertise to clients who have been or are likely to be accused of misusing positions of authority and power or tolerating such conduct in the workplace. In other words, should a lawyer ever tell her client --- and her firm – that her professional skills will not be used for certain types of client ends where the lawyer is concerned with perpetuating abuse of power at a structural level? The second issue is, assuming that law firms are also sites of harassment, are there any special steps that lawyers can take to protect vulnerable members of the legal community (especially women)? Do the rules of professional responsibility already provide tools that go beyond federal and state employment law? Should firms and other employers adopt uniform policies that go beyond either the law or the rules of professional responsibility?
Cardozo Dean Melanie Leslie, a specialist in non-profit law, will deliver a keynote address, followed by two panels. Confirmed participants include: the Honorable Lorna Schofield of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York; Professor Stephen Gillers of NYU Law School; Professor Bradley Wendel of Cornell Law School; Roberta Kaplan of Kaplan Hecker & Fink; Cara Greene of Outten & Golden; and Ally Coll Steele, Founder of the Purple Campaign.