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Rebecca Roiphe

Rebecca Roiphe

Associate Professor of Law
Co-Director, Center for Professional
Values and Practice
New York Law School


Lawyers' Independence: A HIstory
November 14, 2012

Columbia University, B.A.
Harvard Law School, J.D.
University of Chicago, Ph.D.

Biographical Information
Rebecca Roiphe is an associate professor of law and co-director of the Center for Professional Values and Practice. She joined the faculty in 2007 after teaching for two years at Fordham Law School. Professor Roiphe has her Ph.D. in American History from the University of Chicago and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. After graduating from law school, she clerked for the Honorable Bruce Selya on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and served as a Golieb Fellow at New York University School of Law. Professor Roiphe also worked as an associate at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering LLP and as an assistant district attorney in the New York Country District Attorney’s Office where she prosecuted money laundering, securities fraud and corporate crime.

Professor Roiphe studies the history of the legal profession, focusing on the interaction between lawyers’ work and the rhetoric or ideals of professionalism. Drawing on her experience as a prosecutor in New York as well as her training as a historian, Professor Roiphe uses the history of the profession to explore how ideals of independence have persisted as the daily occupation of lawyers has changed. As the legal market puts pressure on lawyers to respond to client demands, Professor Roiphe believes it is even more important to try to distill what it is, if anything, that makes a profession distinct and socially useful. In a series of articles and most recently in a book project, she has looked to history to help answer this question.