SYRACUSE, N.Y. – When the New York State Bar Association put together a task force of 59 professionals across the state to determine the future of the legal profession in New York, Stephen T. Helmer, partner and Chairman of the Executive Committee at Mackenzie Hughes LLP, was the lone representative from Syracuse asked to participate.
The task force first assembled in June 2010 recently released a report that focused on four key proposals that were submitted to the House of Delegates. The four observations from the report included: the training of new lawyers, work-life balance, law firm structure/alternate billing methods, and technology. Helmer’s role on the task force was to recommend how law students can better prepare to perform services as a lawyer after they graduate. “We are finding that more and more clients are less likely to want to pay for younger lawyers to do legal work for them, making it harder for law firms to provide new attorneys with the experience they need to become the practitioners of the future in our industry.” Helmer said. “The recommendations from my specific group on the task force offered insights as to how law firms can provide law school students with skills better needed for the day to day practice of law.”
Helmer noted that key skills young lawyers need before graduating include drafting of documents, courtroom skills, and client relationship skills. Each of these issues are addressed in recommendations made by the task force. “I was honored to participate with this task force which included some of the top legal and business minds across the state,” Helmer said. “I found it to be an invigorating and enlightening experience and hope many of our recommendations can make a lasting impact on the future of our profession.”
The report can be read at www.nysba.org/futurereport. Helmer holds a bachelor’s degree from Le Moyne College and a Juris Doctorate from Albany Law School of Union University and has been admitted to the New York State and U.S. District Court, Northern and Western Districts of New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. A member of the Onondaga County, New York State, and American Bar Associations, as well as the prestigious International Association of Defense Counsel and the Defense Research Institute, Helmer has been listed in “Best Lawyers in America” for Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, Personal Injury Litigation and Product Liability Litigation for the four previous years.