Environmental Law Insight Updates and Analysis from Taft's Environmental Trial Lawyers

ABA’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources 19th Annual Meeting

Posted in Tips

The American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources held its 19th annual meeting in Indianapolis recently.  The program covered subjects from legal, regulatory, policy and highly technical perspectives.  Fracking, smart growth, and environmental project management were among the topics available at the technical roundtable lunch.  I selected the new contaminated sediment site paradigm, which adroitly summarized the recent findings of the USACE/SMWG workshop study.  Without reservation, the best ethics program I have ever attended was the “Ethical and Professional Responsibility Issues Arising in Innovative Methods of Delivering Legal Services.”  The panel presentations were provocative, in particular Professor Henderson’s projection of the new legal service models he anticipates seeing more of over the next few decades.  In contrast to Professor Henderson’s view, it was interesting to listen to in-house counsel minimize the usefulness of a “commoditization approach” to environmental litigation legal services and to articulate a much broader, more sophisticated analysis of criteria used to retain outside counsel, such as confidentiality issues associated with outsourcing.  The energetic discussion among the panelists and the audience reflected lawyers’ interest in the innovations and ethical issues emerging in the legal business sector.