In Memoriam: G. Robert Witmer, March 23, 1937- August 18, 2018

Our long-time colleague and good friend, Bob Witmer, passed away on August 18, 2019. Bob was one of the original members of the Institute and a stalwart one at that, and he was, in every sense, the heart and head of the Institute. Bob was a respected member of the Nixon Peabody firm and an integral member of the University of Rochester’s Board of Trustees for 40 years. He was a past President of the NYS Bar Association and a member of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates. The Institute will sorely miss him.

Paul C. Saunders, Chair



The Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law was created by an Administrative Order of the Chief Judge dated March 3, 1999, following the issuance of the 1995 Report of the Committee on the Profession and the Courts, to “promote awareness and adherence to professional values and ethical behavior by lawyers in New York State.” 

As members of the bar, lawyers must remain true to the enduring values that have made the legal profession a positive force for public good throughout our nation’s history. The broad mandate of the Institute requires examination and studied consideration of the challenges to lawyer independence and professionalism, both in practice and in legal education.

The Institute has pursued its mandate by studying the influences, pressures and challenges to professionalism in different practice contexts and in legal education. The proceedings from all of the Institute’s Convocations are contained in journals that can be accessed by clicking the Library on left tab of this page.

In 2015, the Institute launched a continuing legal education (CLE) initiative. Over the years, the Institute has convened focus groups around the State to identify speakers and themes for its Convocations. Building on the success and enthusiasm for the focus groups, the Institute piloted small group CLE programs with lawyers in law firms and court-based law departments to discuss issues of professionalism raised in scholarly articles in legal journals. To learn about the CLE initiative, please click the CLE Initiative tab.