The Atlanta Lawyer May 2017 - Page 22

DID YOU KNOW? RAPT REPORT by W. Seaborn Jones Of Counsel to Owen, Gleaton, Egan, Jones & Sweeney LLP The Atlanta Bar Committee on Reputation and Public Trust (RAPT) was formed in response to several surveys which revealed a serious decline in public respect for law- yers. In the 1960's and 70's, lawyers were regarded as trustworthy and wise and ranked alongside doctors in public opinion. By the 1990's, lawyers dropped in the rankings to a level previously reserved for auto mechanics. Those surveyed think most of us charge too much for our services and that our litigation process takes too long and costs too much, ef- Bring your fectively depriving some of access to our courts. They think some of us are unethical or dishonest and care more about money and win- ning than we do about playing by the rules. They think that our self- administered disciplinary process is not very effective. They think some lawyers file frivolous lawsuits and that others undertake matters be- yond their competence. While we know that the public has an exaggerated notion of how many lawyers are ethically challenged, can we afford to ignore these criticisms? The Atlanta Bar's response was the creation of a standing committee on Reputation and Public Trust. The committee was initially chaired by Ben Weinberg and has been com- posed of trial and appellate judges, law school deans, representatives from the State Bar’s disciplinary office and lawyers committed to the task. Members of RAPT have present- ed four programs to the Georgia Councils of Superior Court Judges and State Court Judges. The judges were surveyed, and their responses substantiated many of the public’s complaints. Many judges cited game with an LL.M. in Tax or Business. The University of Alabama School of Law offers LL.M. programs in taxation and business transactions. Renowned professors and practitioners teach courses live from across the country. Earn your advanced degree online and gain championship status. 22 May 2017 School of Law Online Programs