Press Release

Lawrence J. Fox to Present the 19th Annual
Francis X. Riley Lecture on Professionalism

Riley Lecture video

March 28, 2012

DeKalb, Ill.--Northern Illinois University College of Law is pleased to announce that Lawrence J. Fox, legal ethics expert and Yale Law Crawford Lecturer, will present the 19th Annual Francis X. Riley Lecture on Professionalism on Friday, March 30 at 3 p.m. Mr. Fox will present his lecture in the Francis X. Riley Courtroom at the Northern Illinois University College of Law, Swen Parson Hall in DeKalb.

Mr. Fox’s lecture, “Can This Profession be Saved?” will focus on the nature of the legal practice, specifically the long-standing debate regarding whether law is a business or a profession. Although it is both, the business side seems to be winning. Mr. Fox will discuss how to preserve the professional integrity of the law, drawing from his experience as a practicing attorney and educator from both ethical and practical perspectives.

Mr. Fox has worked for the last 36 years as a partner in the firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, where he specializes in securities & general commercial litigation, as well as counseling of law firms. In addition, he was the I. Grant Irey, Jr. adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 2000 to 2008, and from 2007 to 2010 he was a lecturer at Harvard Law School before joining Yale Law School as visiting lecturer. He is a 1968 graduate of Penn Law School, where he received his LL.B., cum laude, and was editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.

Mr. Fox has been recognized as an active member and leader in the legal community. He received the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Pro Bono Publico Award in 2005 and the Michael Franck Award in 2007. Among his many professional and community service activities include serving as a member of the ABA Commission on the Evaluation of the Rules of Professional Conduct (Ethics 2000), Chair of the ABA Post-Conviction Death Penalty Representation Project (1996-2003), Chair of the ABA Litigation Section, and Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. He was sent by the United States State Department to Argentina (1997) and China (2002) as a specialist and speaker on the role and rights of lawyers.

Mr. Fox is the author of numerous articles that have appeared in regional and national publications, covering a wide variety of subjects relating to ethical issues, internal investigations, sanctions, expert witnesses, and other topics. He has made numerous television appearances on Nightline, Crossfire, the Today Show, Talk Back Live, Burden of Proof, CNN and MSNBC, speaking on topics ranging from the Clinton impeachment to the death penalty.

The Francis X. Riley Lecture on Professionalism was established in 1994 to honor Professor Emeritus Riley, who devoted his life to the law and legal education. The lecture series brings distinguished speakers to the Northern Illinois University College of Law to discuss current issues relating to the legal profession. Professor Riley passed away on September 14, 2006. He was 93. This Lecture Series continues to serve as part of his legacy at the College of Law and within the legal community.

There will be a reception following the lecture. The lecture and reception are free and open to the public. 1 hour of MCLE ethics credit will be given for this lecture. Attendees are also invited to stay and join us for our annual Public Interest Law Society Auction at 5:00 p.m.


For more information, contact:
Melody Mitchell
Alumni Events & Public Relations
(815) 753-9655 or