Ethics and Professionalism Symposia


On October 16, 2020, Mercer University School of Law held the 21st Annual Georgia Symposium on Professionalism and Ethics:


Ethics, Professionalism, and the Role of the Attorney General 
of the United States: Lessons from History


The symposium was held as a Zoom webinar, from 9 am to 4:30 p.m. 

Volume 72 of the Mercer Law Review contains the articles that were wrritten for the symposium:

  • Patrick E. Longan and James P. Fleissner, Partisanship and the Attorney General of the United States: Timely Lessons from Edward Levi and Griffin Bell about Repairing a Politicized Department of Justice, 72 Mercer Law Review 731 (2021)
  • Lonnie T. Brown, Jr., Civil Unrest and the Role of the Attorney General: A Comparison of Ramsey Clark to William Barr, 72 Mercer Law Review 789 (2021)
  • Nancy Virginia Baker, History, Norms and Conflicting Loyalties in the Office of Attorney General, 72 Mercer Law Review 833 (2021)
  • William Casto, Serving a Lawless President, 72 Mercer Law Review 855 (2021)


Dr. Nancy V. Baker, Professor Emeritus, New Mexico State University

William R. Casto, Paul Whitfield Horn Professor, Texas Tech University School of Law

Lonnie T. Brown, Jr., A. Gus Cleveland Distinguished Chair of Legal Ethics and Professionalism and Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, University of Georgia School of Law 

Patrick E. Longan, W.A. Bootle Chair in Ethics and Professionalism, Mercer University School of Law                                

James P. Fleissner, Professor of Law, Mercer University School of Law                                

Distinguished Guests and Commentators:

Richard A. (Doc) Schneider, Partner, King & Spalding

Rod J. Rosenstein, Partner, King & Spalding, Former Deputy Attorney General of the United States 

The Honorable William S. Duffey, Jr., United States District Judge (retired) for the Northern District of Georgia

Biographies of Symposium Speakers and Commentators

Professor Nancy Baker

Professor Emeritus, New Mexico State University

Ph.D., Tulane University of New Orleans, 1989

Dr. Baker’s research interests focus on the intersection of law and politics in the executive branch, specifically the office of the U.S. Attorney General and the Justice Department.  Her research examines the impact of  anti-terrorism measures on the constitutional structures of separation of powers, federalism, civil liberties and privacy.

She is the author of two books on the office of U.S. Attorney General – General Ashcroft: Attorney at War (2006) and Conflicting Loyalties: Law and Politics in the Attorney General’s Office, 1789-1990 (1992), both published by Kansas University Press.  In addition, she has published numerous academic articles, book chapters and encyclopedia essays.  She has served as an invited scholar on the oral history projects of the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations for the Miller Center of the University of Virginia.  As one of the few political scientists who study the office of the attorney general, she has been interviewed by such media outlets as the New York Times, The Economist, NPR’s Weekend Edition, and Public Radio International.


Professor Lonnie T. Brown, Jr.

Lonnie T. Brown Jr., who holds the A. Gus Cleveland Distinguished Chair of Legal Ethics and Professionalism, joined the University of Georgia School of Law faculty in the fall of 2002.  He teaches courses in civil procedure, the law and ethics of lawyering, ethics in litigation, and Georgia practice and procedure.  In 2019, he was named a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, UGA's highest honor for teaching excellence.  From 2013 to 2015, he served as the law school's associate dean for academic affairs.

Brown's research concentrates primarily on legal ethics in the adversary system, and he speaks and writes frequently in this area.  He also has written a biography of former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark titled Defending the Public's Enemy: The Life and Legacy of Ramsey Clark (Stanford University Press, 2019) and is a co-author of the Fourth Edition of Professional Responsibility: A Contemporary Approach (West Academic, 2020). 

Prior to joining UGA, Brown was an assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and served as a visiting assistant professor at Vanderbilt University.  In addition, he taught at Emory University as an adjunct professor.  He also served as a judicial clerk for Judge William C. O'Kelley of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.  From 1991 to 1999, he practiced law as an associate and a partner at Alston & Bird in Atlanta.

Brown currently serves as the vice chair of the Drafting Committee for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam and is a member of the State Bar of Georgia Formal Advisory Opinion Board and the Executive Committee for the Professional Responsibility Section of the American Association of Law Schools.  In addition, he is a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, a body responsible for issuing formal opinions interpreting the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct and Model Code of Judicial Conduct.  He is also a longstanding member of the ABA's Center for Professional Responsibility and the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers.

In 2007, Brown was the recipient of the inaugural C. Ronald Ellington Award for Excellence in Teaching.  He is also a 13-time recipient of the Student Bar Association's Professionalism Award, and he has been selected three times as an honorary faculty marshal by graduating classes.  At the university level, Brown has served as an Administrative Fellow in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost and as a Senior Teaching Fellow.  In addition, he is a member of the UGA Teaching Academy.

Brown earned his bachelor's degree from Emory University, where he was a Robert W. Woodruff Scholar, student body president and recipient of the Marion Luther Brittain Award, Emory's highest student honor.  He then earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University, where he was a Patrick Wilson Scholar and editor-in-chief of the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law.

He and his wife, Kim, have two daughters, Sophie and Olivia.


Professor William Casto

Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished Professor, 1983

Texas Tech University School of Law 

Admitted to practice in Tennessee.

Professor Casto received his law degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and a Doctor of the Science of Law degree from Columbia University.  He joined the Texas Tech faculty in 1983 after practicing law for a number of years.  He has written a number of well received books and articles on international tort law and on the federal courts.  The United States Supreme Court has frequently cited or relied upon his published scholarship.  He is a member of the American Law Institute and holds a Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished Professorship, which is the highest honor that Texas Tech may bestow on a faculty member.   He is currently writing a book on the process of providing legal advice in government.

He has written three well-received books: The Supreme Court in the Early RepublicOliver Ellsworth and the Creation of the Federal Republic, and Foreign Affairs and the Constitution in the Age of Fighting Sail. Professor Casto has written articles on judicial review, foreign policy, and the relationship between religion and public life in the Founding Era.

  • B.A., University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 1970
  • J.D., University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 1973
  • J.S.D., Columbia University, 1983


The Honorable William Duffey

William S. Duffey, Jr. recently retired from active service as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Georgia.  He served in the judiciary for 14 years with his service beginning on July 1, 2004.  Judge Duffey previously served as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia where he was responsible for prosecution of federal crimes in his district, and for civil actions filed by and against the United States government.

Before his appointment as United States Attorney, Judge Duffey was a partner at King & Spalding in Atlanta.  He was elected as a partner in 1987.  From 1994 to 1995, Judge Duffey left private practice to serve as Deputy Independent Counsel in charge of the Arkansas phase of the Whitewater investigation.  He rejoined King & Spalding as a partner following government service.  At King & Spalding, Judge Duffey’s practice included complex civil and criminal litigation, focusing on trade secret, corporate espionage and fraud matters.

An honors graduate of Drake University in 1973, Judge Duffey received his J.D., cum laude in 1977 from the University of South Carolina Law School, where he served as Articles Editor of the South Carolina Law Review.

Judge Duffey served in the United States Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps from 1978-1981 as a Circuit Trial Counsel, and as an Assistant Staff Judge Advocate to the United States Logistics Group in Ankara, Turkey.

Judge Duffey has served in a variety of assignments that focused on ethics and integrity as an essential pillar in a democracy.  At King & Spalding, he provided ethics counseling to and represented clients, including state and local elected officials, in ethics matters.  He was one of four presenters at a conference in Vienna, Austria, attended by members of the Romanian parliament and ministry officials at which he discussed ethical conduct in business.  From 2008 to 2015, Judge Duffey represented the United States judiciary on nine trips to Ukraine to make presentations to Ukrainian judges and government officials on the requirement of ethical conduct as the foundation of an independent judiciary in a democracy.  In 1999, Judge Duffey attended a conference in Amman, Jordan on forgiveness and reconciliation, hosted by King Abdullah II of Jordan.  In 2019, he served as a member of the City of Atlanta Task Force on the Promotion of Public Trust and has served on a variety of boards and held a variety of other leadership positions.


Professor James P. Fleissner

Jim Fleissner’s teaching and scholarship are focused on criminal law and procedure, evidence, trial and appellate practice, and legal history.  Upon graduating from law school in 1986, Fleissner was appointed as an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago.  As a federal prosecutor, he gained extensive experience investigating and prosecuting a variety of federal cases and held several supervisory positions, last serving as Chief of the forty-five lawyer General Crimes Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Since joining the Mercer faculty in 1994, Jim Fleissner has complemented his academic activities with engagement in practice, including additional part-time service as a federal prosecutor as a Senior Associate Independent Counsel (1998-2000), Deputy Special Counsel (2004-2009), and full-time service during a leave of absence as Chief of Criminal Appeals for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago (2003-2005).


Professor Patrick E. Longan

Professor Longan holds the William Augustus Bootle Chair in Ethics and Professionalism in the Practice of Law at Mercer University School of Law.  He is a nationally recognized leader in the field of legal ethics and professionalism.  Among other positions he holds, Professor Longan is the director of the Mercer Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism and a member of the Georgia Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism.  He also serves on the State Bar of Georgia's Formal Advisory Opinion Board and its Disciplinary Rules and Procedures Committee.  In 2018, the Supreme Court of Georgia appointed Professor Longan as one of twenty special masters who hear disciplinary cases involving lawyers in Georgia.

Professor Longan teaches Mercer's first year course on professionalism, the upper-level Law of Lawyering course, Jurisdiction and Judgments, and Judicial Field Placement.  He received the 2005 National Award for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching Professionalism from the Conference of Chief Justices, the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism, and the Burge Endowment for Legal Ethics.  In his academic career, Professor Longan has also taught in various capacities at Stetson University, the University of Florida, Southern Methodist University, the Charleston School of Law, John Marshall (Atlanta) Law School, and Georgia State University School of Law.  Before entering law teaching, Professor Longan served as a law clerk to Senior United States District Judge Bernard M. Decker in Chicago and practiced law with the firm of Andrews & Kurth in Dallas, Texas.


Rod Rosenstein

Rod Rosenstein is a partner at King & Spalding.  His practice focuses on government investigations, crisis management, national security and cyber issues, tax controversies, compliance and monitoring. 

Rod served in the U.S. Department of Justice for 30 years and held political appointments during the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, including as Deputy Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for Maryland.

After earning a B.S. in Economics summa cum laude from the Wharton School of Business and a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School and serving as a federal appellate judicial clerk, Rod gained extensive litigation experience in trial and appellate courtrooms, handling high-profile fraud and corruption cases.  He personally represented the United States in 23 jury trials and argued 21 appeals in various appellate courts and the Supreme Court.

During President George W. Bush’s first term, Rod was the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General responsible for supervising all federal criminal tax cases.  President Bush appointed him as U.S. Attorney for Maryland in 2005, and he led federal law enforcement efforts in Maryland for twelve years, throughout the administration of President Obama.  He then served under President Trump as Deputy Attorney General, the chief operating officer for the Department of Justice, where he oversaw programs and agencies with 115,000 employees and a $28 billion budget. 


Doc Schneider

Doc Schneider is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers who focuses on the defense of product liability claims and complex commercial disputes.  Doc is also an appellate advocate arguing cases in appellate courts across the country on a broad range of subject matters. 

With more than 35 years of experience, Doc represents clients in trial courts and appellate courts across the country on matters involving tobacco products, asbestos-containing products and alleged toxic exposures in the workplace and in the environment, as well as commercial disputes.

In addition to being a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Doc is a Trustee of the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society and gives lectures on the history of the Court and its controversial cases.  Doc is ranked by Chambers USA and listed in The Best Lawyers in America in five practice areas as well as in Georgia Super Lawyers.

Doc graduated first in his class from Mercer University School of Law in 1981.  He served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Mercer University in 2014 and 2015.


The Mercer Center has sponsored the following symposia in past years. Proceedings and articles relating to each symposium are available in the Mercer Law Review.

2016:  Educational Interventions to Cultivate Professional Identity in Law Students

68 Mercer Law Review

2012:  Defining and Enforcing the Federal Prosecutor’s Duty to Disclose Exculpatory Evidence

64 Mercer Law Review

2008:  Ethics and Professionalism in the Digital Age

60 Mercer Law Review

2004:  Judicial Ethics and Professionalism in a New Era of Judicial Selection

56 Mercer Law Review

2003:  Lessons from Enron

54 Mercer Law Review

2001:  Ethics and Professionalism in Settlement Negotiations 

52 Mercer Law Review