UC Law SF Faculty Member to Receive CLA’s Professional Responsibility Award

UC Law SF Emeritus Lecturer Richard Zitrin is set to receive the California Lawyers Association’s 2019 Harry B. Sondheim Professional Responsibility Award for his contributions to the field of legal ethics. Zitrin is only the fourth lawyer to receive the award.

Established in 2010, the award recognizes an attorney’s “outstanding long-term contribution to the advancement of attorney professional standards in California.” Such contributions may include, for example, exemplary practice, teaching, service in the state, scholarship, promoting diversity, and legislative advocacy.


“We are fortunate to count Richard Zitrin as a member of our community,” said Academic Dean and Professor Morris Ratner, who is also an ethics scholar. “The Harry B. Sondheim Award recognizes Professor Zitrin’s remarkable contributions to the law governing lawyers and to our profession.”

Zitrin has taught Legal Ethics since 1977, and at UC Law SF since 1994. He has authored three books and dozens of articles in the field, including, for many years, a bimonthly column, “The Moral Compass,” for American Law Media. He also founded the University of San Francisco’s Center for Applied Legal Ethics, serving as its first director. In 2000, the ethics curriculum he developed at USF was given an ABA Presidential Award from the ABA Section on Legal Education.

Additionally, Zitrin has chaired the California State Bar’s ethics committee; and was awarded the ABA’s Pro Bono Publico Award in 2006. While teaching, he continually remained in private practice, trying 50 cases to verdict. And, he became a California-certified specialist in legal malpractice law in 2010.

This year, Zitrin retired from teaching, but he will remain affiliated with UC Law SF as an emeritus lecturer, continuing to produce scholarship, mentor students, and be engaged on important ethics questions.

Zitrin will receive the award during the next statewide ethics symposium in April 2020, a symposium he founded in 1995 while State Bar ethics committee chair.