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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

Professor 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 School of Transnational Law in China. Professor 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, Professor Hirshon was the spokesperson for the world's largest professional association and determined how and when the association should speak about 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. Professor 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 and created a speaker's bureau focusing on professionalism. Under his leadership, Tonkon Torp launched an ambitious diversity program and embraced a new pro bono policy based upon Model Rule 6.1. Professor 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, Professor Hirshon is the CEO of The Wein Hirshon Charitable Foundation, which provides grants to nonprofit organizations, including Michigan Law's Student Funded Fellowships. 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.

Recent Publications

"The Legacy of Senator Edmund Muskie." Maine L. Rev. 67 (2015): 2.​


Presented a TED talk on "The Future of the Legal Profession: Why You Should be Afraid" at the National Conference of Bar Presidents, San Francisco, August 2016.

Presented "Alternative Approaches to the Delivery of Legal Services" at the ABA's mid-year meeting, San Diego, February 2016.​

Presented "Innovative Approaches to Compensation: More Than Just Alternative Fee Arrangements" at the Client-Centric Legal Services: Getting From Here to There conference co-sponsored by the American Bar Association and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, Denver, August 2015.

Presented on alternative approaches to delivering legal services to the middle class, AB​A Commission on the Future of Legal Services, August 2015.

Keynote speaker, "Law Office Management in the 21st Century: Dealing with a Changing Professional Landscape," The John Waldo Ballou American Inn of Court, June 2015.​

Keynote speaker, "The New Reality for Law School Graduates, Law Schools, and the Bar," Maryland State Bar Association, June 2015. ​

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

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

Moderator, "Connecting Law and Legislature: The Legacy of Ed Muskie," Maine Law Review Symposium, University of Maine Law School, November 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.

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

Visiting Professor, Peking University School of Transnational Law, Shenzhen, China, 2011–present.