Lorna G. Schofield Named Chair of The American Bar Association Section of Litigation
CHICAGO, Aug. 6, 2009 — The American Bar Association Section of Litigation announced that Lorna G. Schofield will serve as section chair for a one-year term that began at the close of the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago on Aug. 4. She is the first Asian-American to chair the 70,000-member section. Schofield was elected to the post in 2008 and served as chair-elect for the 2008-09 term. Outgoing Section Chair Robert L. Rothman of Atlanta presented her with the gavel at the section’s annual International Human Rights Award luncheon on July 31.
Schofield, a litigation partner in the New York City office of the international law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, has extensive trial experience in both the private and public sectors. She joined the firm in 1988 and was named a partner in 1991. Prior to joining Debevoise, she served from 1984-88 as an assistant U.S. attorney in the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Schofield’s practice focuses on litigation in complex commercial matters, including the defense of companies and individuals in regulatory and white collar criminal investigations, and representing both plaintiffs and defendants in private commercial disputes. Among her notable cases is her prosecution of 10 arms dealers charged with defrauding the United States to sell arms to Iran during the Iran-Contra scandal. She is well-known for her successful defense of celebrity Rosie O’Donnell in a lawsuit with the publishers of her magazine, Rosie. Further, Schofield obtained a defense verdict in a class action trial where she represented a big four accounting firm.
Schofield received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she served as an editor of the New York University Law Review. She received her B.A. magna cum laude from Indiana University.
A long-time member of the ABA, Schofield has been active in the Section of Litigation and has served in numerous leadership positions. She was recognized as one of the “50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America” in 2008 by the National Law Journal. She has participated in international demonstrations of U.S. trial techniques and mock trials for lawyers around the world. She has also spoken and testified on changes in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure concerning class actions and discovery.
In addition to her work in the ABA, Schofield has been a member of the American Law Institute, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the New York Council of Defense Lawyers.
For her year as chair, Schofield will focus on the future of civil litigation and the future of the legal profession. The section is preparing a proposal for reform of how civil litigation is conducted; Schofield has been asked to present the section’s position at a major symposium to be convened in 2010 by the federal judges committee charged with initiating changes to the rules that govern civil litigation. To assist in this effort, the section is surveying its members about the costs and effectiveness of civil litigation.
Other projects to be undertaken by Schofield targeted at shaping the future of civil litigation include supporting the establishment of a right of access to civil adversarial matters in which basic human needs – such as child custody, shelter and safety – are at stake; and encouraging the adoption of innovative practices in jury trials.
Schofield will also lead the section in increasing its use of technology to engage the young lawyers who are the future of the profession. Under her leadership, the section will provide more Web conferencing audiocasts, as well as online communities for education, skills training and networking.
With more than 70,000 members, the ABA Section of Litigation includes trial lawyers, judges and others involved in all aspects of litigation and the dispute resolution process. The Section of Litigation is dedicated to promoting justice both domestically and internationally, as well as enhancing public understanding of and respect for the legal profession.
With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.