Deadlines & Themes for The Bencher
The Bencher magazine is the flagship publication of the American Inns of Court and published six times per year. Submissions are welcome and membership is not require to contribute an article. If you are interested in writing, please be sure to review our Editorial Policy and Submission Guidelines. Please contact our editor with any questions.
Theme: Protecting the Vulnerable
Deadline: February 1, 2020
The protection of the vulnerable is important to our society and profession. What legal-related programs are in place in the courts, legal services organizations, and bar associations to protect the rights of children, the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and others? Do you have experience in helping these groups? Share your experience and ideas about how to protect the vulnerable. What needs do you see that will require attention in the future and how can those needs be addressed? What can be done to better represent and help those who need assistance? What are some of the ethical concerns associated with this important work?
Theme: American Inns of Court 40th Anniversary Issue
Deadline: April 1, 2020
The year 2020 is the 40th anniversary of the American Inns of Court. Tell us about your experience as a member of one of the first Inns or as someone involved in the founding of the Inns of Court movement. How has our organization changed over the years and where do you see it going in the future? What impact has the American Inns of Court had on the legal profession over the years? What is the future of our profession and how can the organization help law students, lawyers and judges adapt? What has your Inns of Court membership meant to you?
Theme: Practicing Law in a Multicultural Society
Deadline: June 1, 2020
Have you worked on cases with clients from different cultures or countries who may not fully understand U.S. laws, the court system, and the role of lawyers? Have you worked on cases in other countries with cultural differences? How have different perceptions of justice and fairness affected your work? How have cultural differences impacted your work and why is it important to be aware of these differences? Have you represented clients in situations where a language barrier exists? What are some best practices for doing so and what ethical and practical considerations may be at issue? How do you help these clients navigate our country’s legal system?
Deadline: August 1, 2020
Businesses including law firms have been hacked, resulting in the hijacking of computer systems until ransom is paid to release the systems. Information has been stolen, compromised, or exploited. How can you protect yourself, your firm and clients from attacks or data breaches? What are the obligations after an attack or data breach has occurred? How have you advised your clients regarding cybersecurity matters? What are some issues surrounding cloud storage of client information? What does cybersecurity mean to the modern day practice of law?
Theme: Working with Clients and Potential Clients
Deadline: October 1, 2020
No matter the type of practice, most attorneys work with clients. What are some issues that can arise when working with clients? How do you determine who is the client and how does this affect the role of the attorney? What issues can arise if someone other than the client is paying the legal fees? Have you experienced an interesting attorney-client privilege issue? How have you handled prospective clients and how have you worked through conflicts with existing clients? What are some best practices to help avoid issues when working with potential and existing clients?
Theme: Communication: Understanding Your Audience
Deadline: December 1, 2020
How do you appropriately craft your message to the target audience? What are the differences between writing for or arguing before a trial court versus an appellate court? What are the differences in writing an internal legal memorandum versus one intended for a client? If your message is going to a client, does the way you provide information reflect who the recipient is? What are some issues with intra-company communications, maintaining confidentiality, and determining whether you should communicate orally or in writing? When does the use of tone assist in advocacy and when does it raise concerns about professionalism and civility? Share your ideas on how to tailor the mode and style of communication to fit a particular situation or person.
Theme: Multigenerational Perspective Issues in the Practice of Law
Deadline: February 1, 2021
What are the issues that arise in the practice of law from the perspective of different generations of lawyers—from new lawyers to the most senior members in the profession? How do lawyers of different generations view the legal system? How has the practice of law changed over the years? How have legal employers dealt with requests for changes in work habits such as teleworking? What are the pros and cons from the employer’s and employee’s perspectives? How do we successfully work across multiple generations in the practice of law? What words of wisdom do you have for an attorney or judge who is not from your generation?
Deadline: April 1, 2021
Tell us about interesting ethical issues that you have experienced. What are the ethical rules lawyers should consider when discussing cases in the media? What ethical issues arise when a judge runs for re-election or a lawyer runs for election as a judge? What ethical concerns do lawyers face when engaging in the representation of clients, in communicating with prospective clients, or in declining legal representation?
Theme: Bankruptcy Law
Deadline: June 1, 2021
What is it that non-bankruptcy practitioners need to know about bankruptcy law? What are the basics? What are new developments in this field of law? What are some interesting new cases? Are there any new laws or rules that affect the practice of bankruptcy law? What are the ethical issues and pitfalls of which lawyers need to be aware?
Article submissions should be e-mailed to Rita Zimmerman. We look forward to having you contribute to The Bencher.