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Hirshon, Robert E.

Frank G. Millard Professor from Practice and
Special Counsel on Developments in the Legal Profession

920 Legal Research

Prof. Robert Hirshon, '73, the Frank G. Millard Professor from Practice and special counsel on developments in the legal profession, is an internationally known lawyer, writer, and speaker. He is also a visiting professor at the Haim Striks Law School in Israel and the Peking University of Transnational Law in China. Prof. Hirshon practiced law for 30 years in Portland, Maine, and is counsel to the northeast regional law firm Verrill Dana LLP. He served as president of the Maine State Bar Association, the Maine Bar Foundation, and the American Bar Association (ABA). As president of the ABA, Prof. Hirshon was the spokesperson for the world's largest professional association and determined how and when the association should speak on important national and international issues such as the profession's response to the 9/11 tragedy and various corporate scandals. Under his leadership the ABA focused on the issues surrounding law student debt and the professional ramifications of increasing billable hour requirements. During his three years as an officer of the ABA, he traveled to 17 countries, meeting with judges, members of the Bar, and political and corporate leaders. Prof. Hirshon served as the CEO of Tonkon Torp LLP, an Oregon law firm of 75 lawyers. At Tonkon, he facilitated the adoption and implementation of the firm's strategic plan, created a speaker's bureau focusing on professionalism, and helped to design and implement a system of partner peer review. Under his leadership, Tonkon Torp launched an ambitious diversity program and embraced a new pro bono policy based upon Model Rule 6.1. Prof. Hirshon also served as the COO of Stoel Rives LLP, a 370-lawyer Western regional law firm with offices in 12 cities and eight states. In addition, Prof. Hirshon is the CEO of The Wein Hirshon Charitable Foundation, which provides grants to nonprofit organizations that focus on medical and legal issues. He is the recipient of several honorary degrees and numerous state and national awards for his pro bono work and efforts in the profession. He received his BA and JD degrees from the University of Michigan in 1970 and 1973, respectively.



Appointed to the State Bar of Michigan's 21st Century Practice Task Force, March 2015.

Featured speaker on "Law Office Management in the 21st Century: Dealing with a Changing Professional Landscape," John Waldo Ballou Inn of Court presentation, Bangor, Maine, December 2014.​

Moderator, "Legal Education: The States Get Involved," ABA House of Delegates, August 2014.​

Visiting professor, Haim Striks School of Law, College of Management Academic Studies, Rishon LeZion, Israel, 2014–present.​

Keynote speaker, "The Future of the Legal Profession," The David Weiner Center for Lawyer’s Ethics and Professional Responsibility, June 2014.​

Adviser to the ABA's Standing Committee of Delivery of Legal Services​, 2014–present.

Recipient of the A.W. Brian Simpson Memorial Award from the Student Funded Fellowships organization, University of Michigan Law School, March 2014.

Presented "Law Careers: The Dynamics of an Evolving Profession," Florida Bar Association, March 2014.

Presented "Branding in Legal Education," Barry University's Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, Miami Shores, Florida, March 2014.

Moderator, "The Future of Legal Education," ABA House of Delegates, August 2013.

Participant, Professionalism in Action Program, co-sponsored by the Michigan Bar Assocation and the University of Michigan Law School, 2012–present.

Presented "State of the American Legal Profession," Shenzhen Lawyers Association, China, May 21, 2011.

Affiliated Transnational Faculty, Peking University's School of Transnational Law, Shenzhen, China, 2011–present.

Member of the ABA's Advisory Committee on Law Library of Congress, 2010–2014.

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