February 2021 — Professor Laurel S. Terry, along with lawyer regulators from Colorado, Illinois, and Nebraska, recently spoke about the topic of proactive regulation or PMBR at the 2021 Midyear Meeting of the National Organization of Bar Counsel. The NOBC is the professional organization for individuals who “enforce the ethics rules that regulate the professional conduct of lawyers who practice law in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries around the world.”

NOBCThe title of the session in which Professor Terry spoke was Virtual Reality: PMBR Past, Present & Future. PMBR is the acronym for Proactive Management-Based Regulation, which focuses on actions regulators can take proactively to help lawyers avoid problems, rather than relying exclusively on after-the-fact responses such as lawyer discipline. Professor Terry’s fellow panelists included regulators who described Colorado’s PMBR program, including its voluntary self-assessments and Illinois’ PMBR program, which offers complementary online interactive CLE sessions, which must be completed by lawyers who do not carry malpractice insurance. The program also included a regulator from Nebraska, whose jurisdiction is considering adopting a more formal PMBR approach. Professor Terry was invited to join the panel because of her work related to proactive regulation. In addition to speaking on the panel, Professor Terry prepared resource material for this NOBC session.  

Proactive regulation is the “when to regulate” issue in the “who-what-when-where-why-&-how” set of lawyer regulation issues that Professor Terry has previously written about. Professor Terry’s work on proactive regulation includes a lengthy law-review article entitled The Power of Lawyer Regulators to Increase Client & Public Protection Through Adoption of a Proactive Regulation System and a three-page JOTWELL blog post, intended for outreach, entitled When it Comes to Lawyers… Is an Ounce of Prevention Worth a Pound of Cure? Professor Terry’s work on proactive regulation was cited in the 2019 report that accompanied ABA Resolution 107, which encouraged U.S. jurisdictions to consider PMBR. Professor Terry has been active in efforts to encourage jurisdictions to adopt a more proactive approach. She co-moderated the February 2020 PMBR Roundtable in Austin, which was her last in-person conference pre-Covid, and she has helped organize prior PMBR Workshops (listed on p. 3 here).

Professor Laurel Terry, who holds the H. Laddie Montague, Jr. Chair in Law, is a three-time Fulbright recipient who writes and teaches about the impact of globalization on the legal profession, especially with respect to regulatory issues. Her scholarship has identified emerging issues for the legal profession and urged stakeholder engagement, new initiatives, and regulatory reform. In addition to speaking at academic and professional conferences, she has been invited to speak about her scholarship to has been invited to speak about her scholarship to organizations that include the Conference of Chief Justices, the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the National Organization of Bar Counsel, the National Conference of Bar Presidents, the CCBE, which represents EU’s legal profession and legal regulators, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the International Institute of Law Association Chief Executives, the International Bar Association, and the International Conference of Legal Regulators.