Fortney, Susan Saab

-Susan Fortney

Susan Saab Fortney serves as the Howard Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics and Director of the Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics at the Maurice Deane School of Law at Hofstra University in New York.  Before joining Hofstra, Fortney served as the Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished University Professor and Interim Dean at Texas Tech University School of Law. At Texas Tech, she also previously served as Associate Dean for Research and Associate Dean for Students and held the George Mahon Professorship of Law. She was the founder and director of the Health Care and Bioethics Mediation Clinic, the first such program in the country. Prior to joining Texas Tech, Fortney practiced law in both the public and private sectors. Upon graduation from law school, she first served as briefing attorney for Chief Justice Carlos Cadena of the Fourth Court of Appeals of Texas. She continued her public service as an attorney with the Division of Corporation Finance and the Division of Enforcement at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Fortney later entered private practice, first handling securities and corporate matters and later focusing on legal malpractice cases.

Fortney has taught and researched around the world.  As a Fulbright Scholar she taught a comparative ethics class in Slovenia. She has served as a visiting research scholar at the University of Melbourne and the University of Technology at Sydney.  She has taught a masters class, called “Global Lawyer” at La Trobe University in Australia and a professional responsibility class in Poland.

Fortney’s research and scholarly endeavors relate to professional responsibility and liability of attorneys.  She has conducted a number of empirical studies related to law firm ethics, governance and culture.  Her last study on proactive management-based regulation of law firms was conducted in cooperation with the Legal Services Commission for New South Wales (Sydney) in Australia.  She has written numerous articles and books, including co-authoring the nation’s first textbook on legal malpractice law.  She has also organized training programs related to avoiding sexual misconduct claims, professional liability, organizational ethics, and conflict resolution.

Fortney is an elected member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Foundation and the Texas Bar Foundation.  Also, she is one of the seven members on the National Conference of Bar Examiners Committee, which drafts the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination, which most applicants must pass for admission to law practice in the U.S.  She is a member of the New York City Bar Committee on International Law Practice and the Texas Disciplinary Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct.  She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Professional Responsibility Section of the Association of American Law Schools.  She also serves on the editorial board for the American Bar Association publications, The Professional Lawyer and The Journal of the Professional Lawyer.

Fortney received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity University in San Antonio and her first law degree from Antioch School of Law in Washington, DC.  She obtained a Masters in the Laws degree and Doctor of Science of the Law degree from Columbia University School of Law.