The Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (“APRL” pronounced April) is comprised of more than 500 lawyers, law professors and judges holding an interest in lawyers' professional responsibility, legal ethics, legal malpractice and the evolving law of lawyering, primarily through the application of the rules of lawyer ethics to the practice of law. APRL was formed as a nonprofit organization in 1990.
The great majority of members provide advice to lawyers on legal ethics issues, defend lawyers in discipline matters or civil malpractice cases, act as expert witnesses, teach professional responsibility courses in law schools or perform ethics-related functions in law firms.
APRL holds national meetings twice a year. Each meeting features topical, lively programs with participants who are acknowledged leaders in their fields. The sessions are definitely not “talking heads” affairs. APRL audience members are renowned for making their views known during these programs and the meetings provide a special place for members to speak freely about critical issues in lawyer ethics applied to the practice of law. The written materials are cutting-edge and populate a permanent library available online to APRL members.
APRL makes a difference through its Board, Public Statements Committee and the other APRL committees. APRL takes public positions on proposals to change professional responsibility laws and rules. In appropriate cases, APRL will file amicus curiae briefs. Most national bar committees and commissions include APRL members.
One APRL feature available to its members is the APRL listserv. On a daily basis, members ask for guidance from other members on issues related to legal ethics. The responses often provide the inquirer with suggestions and citations, the totality of which sometimes resembles the result of a major research project. These discussions and the follow on interactions often trigger a lively debate on “what is” and what “should be.”
Annual APRL membership dues are a modest $150 per year (with separate charge for attendance at national meetings). Lawyers in every practice setting and academia with an interest in legal ethics should consider joining APRL to gain the advantages of access to expertise, extraordinary collegiality, first-class meetings and a variety of other resources.