Centers and Institutes

A large part of our esteemed reputation in the realm of law and legal studies has come as a result of the work done through our law school centers and special programs. These centers and programs distinguish the Mercer School of Law, provide an exceptional academic and professional resource to students, and deliver important services to the legal community as well as to Macon.

Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism

On December 31, 1999, Judge Hugh Lawson of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia signed a Consent Order and Final Judgment that settled allegations of litigation misconduct involving E.I. Du Pont Nemours & Company and its counsel. That order provided that Du Pont would provide the funding to endow a professorial chair at four law schools in Georgia, including Mercer University School of Law. The court’s order stated that the chairs “shall be devoted to fostering and teaching professionalism and ethics in the practice of law.” The faculty and administration of Mercer University School of Law chose to implement that order by creating the William Augustus Bootle Chair in Ethics and Professionalism in the Practice of Law and by directing that the primary responsibility of the holder of the Bootle Chair would be to direct the operation of the Mercer Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism.

Since 2000, Professor Patrick Longan has held the Bootle Chair and directed the Center. Professor Longan’s charge as Director of the Center is to engage in a variety of in-house and outreach educational activities with the purpose of improving the professionalism of students, lawyers and judges. Those activities have included the production of original video teaching materials related to ethics and professionalism and the creation of an innovative course on professionalism and professional identity for first-year law students. As part of the first-year course, Professor Longan conducts interviews with distinguished lawyers and judges in the Center’s award-winning “Inside the Legal Profession” series.  The Center also sponsors an ongoing project to collect the oral histories of distinguished Georgia lawyers and judges and has hosted a series of symposia on ethics and professionalism. As a service to the bench and bar, the Center maintains a web page with updates on recent developments in Georgia legal ethics.

Professor Longan welcomes your suggestions and can be reached by telephone at 478-301-2639 or by e-mail at