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Susan Fortney

Texas A&M University School of Law

Before joining the Texas A&M faculty, Professor Fortney served as the Howard Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics and Director of the Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics at the Maurice Deane School of Law at Hofstra University from 2011-2015. Previously, she taught at Texas Tech School of Law. When she left Texas Tech, she was the Interim Dean and a Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished University Professor.

Prior to joining Texas Tech, Fortney practiced law in both the public and private sectors. Upon graduation from law school, she first served as briefing attorney for Chief Justice Carlos Cadena of the Fourth Court of Appeals of Texas. She continued her public service as an attorney with the Division of Corporation Finance and the Division of Enforcement at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Fortney later entered private practice, first handling securities and corporate matters and later focusing on legal malpractice cases. 


Since entering law teaching, Fortney has taught 19 different classes. Currently, her teaching and scholarship focus on legal ethics and malpractice issues. Fortney’s has conducted a number of empirical studies related to law firm ethics, governance and culture. Most recently, she completed a study on the new regulatory regime for incorporated firms in Australia. She is currently assisting bar groups and regulators in the U.S. and Canada interested in implementing proactive regulatory measures that focus on risk management and
practice assistance.

In 2015 she published the second edition of LEGAL MALPRACTICE LAW: PROBLEMS AND PREVENTION (co-written). This is the first textbook focusing on legal malpractice.

Fortney received recognition for her work as a teacher, scholar, and public servant. In 2006 she received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest teaching award at Texas Tech University. She has received Distinguished Researcher Awards and the Texas Tech President’s Academic Achievement Award. Texas Lawyer newspaper selected her as one of the 30 Extraordinary Women in Texas Law. In 2010, the Texas Bar Foundation selected her as the recipient of the Lola Wright Foundation Award in recognition of outstanding public service in advancing and enhancing legal ethics. At Hofstra she was selected as a John Gregory Research Fellow.


In 2015 she represented Hofstra University as a visiting scholar at Harris Manchester College at Oxford University. Fortney has been elected as a member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Foundation and the Texas Bar Foundation. She also is one of the seven members of the National Conference of Bar Examiners Committee that drafts the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination. She is a contributing editor for JOTWELL and serves as a member of the Board of Editors for the ABA JOURNAL OF THE  PROFESSIONAL LAWYER and the PROFESSIONAL LAWYER. She is also a co-editor of the NEW YORK LEGAL ETHICS REPORTER.