April 6, 2007
CrimProf Blog Spotlight: Leah Wortham
After joining the CUA faculty, Professor Wortham served for nine years as a clinical coordinator with responsibility for coordination and curriculum development of clinical programs and development and supervision of the extern program. She was associate dean for external and student affairs from 1990-1995. From 1987-1995, she chaired the Law School Building Committee and was 6 in charge of law school participation in architect selection and all phases of planning for the construction and move to a $33 million project.
Much of Professor Wortham’s teaching and professional activities center on the professional responsibility of lawyers. She has taught the required professional responsibility course since 1983. She wrote the 50+ page rule-by-rule comparison of the D.C. and Model Rules of Professional Conduct which is given to all new admittees to the D.C. Bar. She co-chairs the faculty for the ethics portion of the mandatory course for new admittees and regularly teaches in that program to groups as large as 500+. She served for six years on the Ethics Committee of the D.C. Bar, which issues informal guidance and formal opinions on interpretation of the D.C. Rules, including as vice-chair and chair. Since 1998, she has been a D.C. Board of Professional Responsibility Hearing Committee member, sitting in disciplinary hearings and serving as a contact member to review the bar counsel’s recommendations for dismissal, informal admonition, and prosecution. She regularly teaches continuing legal education courses and speaks to bar groups on professional responsibility topics. With Professor Lerman, she taught one of the first Comparative Legal Ethics courses given by an American law school in CUA’s summer program in Cracow, Poland. She has reviewed a number of lawyer regulation codes for other countries through the American Bar Association Central and Eastern European Law Initiative.
Professor Wortham’s other area of academic concentration is clinical education. With CUA Professors Ogilvy and Lerman, she edited the first textbook for general externship clinical courses, Learning From Practice: A Professional Development Text For Legal Externs, for which she also wrote three chapters and much of the teacher’s manual. She assisted faculty from Jagiellonian University to secure grants from the Ford Foundation to establish the first legal clinic in Poland. That clinic, established in 1997-98, has served as a model for others in the country and the region. Professor Wortham, with CUA Professor Klein, serves as a mentor in hosting clinicians from the region in the United States and making visits to the region to provide technical assistance and participate in conferences designed to encourage the establishment of clinical programs. Professor Wortham provides advice to Klinika, the first student-edited law journal in Poland, established by faculty and staff of the Jagiellonian clinic. Currently, she is involved in several projects to encourage the teaching of professional responsibility in clinics and classroom courses in other parts of the world.
Professor Wortham also teaches criminal law. She formerly taught insurance and is the author of two articles on rating classification.
Professor Wortham graduated from Harvard Law School in 1973 and from Macalester College in 1970, summa cum laude and with Phi Beta Kappa membership. Since 1995, she has been a member of the Macalester College Board of Trustees and serves as Chair of the Honorary Degree Committee. She was presented the Macalester College Distinguished Citizen Award in 1995 and was named 1991 Woman of the Year (Mary J. Flynn Award) by the Catholic University Women’s Commission.
Through the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education, she served on eight law school accreditation teams from 1991-1997. She chairs the ABA Section’s Law School Facilities Committee, which organized "Bricks, Bytes, and Continuous Renovation," a national conference held at Catholic University and other D.C. schools in March 2000. [Mark Godsey]
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