B.A., Trinity University
J.D., Antioch School of Law
LL.M., Columbia University School of Law
J.S.D, Columbia University School of Law
Susan Saab Fortney serves as the Howard Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics and Director of the Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics at the Maurice Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. Before joining Hofstra, Fortney served as the Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished University Professor and Interim Dean at Texas Tech University School of Law. At Texas Tech, she also previously served as Associate Dean for Research and Associate Dean for Students and held the George Mahon Professorship of Law. She was the founder and director of the Health Care and Bioethics Mediation Clinic, the first such program in the country.
Prior to joining Texas Tech, Fortney practiced law in both the public and private sectors. Upon graduation from law school, she first served as briefing attorney for Chief Justice Carlos Cadena of the Fourth Court of Appeals of Texas. She continued her public service as an attorney with the Division of Corporation Finance and the Division of Enforcement at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Fortney later entered private practice, first handling securities and corporate matters and later focusing on legal malpractice cases. While in practice, Fortney began teaching Professional Responsibility as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law. She fell in love with teaching and decided to pursue it on a full-time basis. To make the transition, Fortney obtained her LL.M. and J.S.D. from Columbia University School of Law. She obtained her first law degree at Antioch.
Since entering law teaching, Fortney has taught 19 different classes. Currently, her teaching and scholarship focus on legal ethics and malpractice issues.
Fortney’s has done a great deal of work internationally. She served as a Fulbright Scholar in Slovenia. Fortney taught in legal ethics in master’s law programs in Poland and Australia. She has also conducted research as a visiting scholar at the University of Melbourne and the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.
In 2014 she spoke at a number of conferences and law school programs, including international presentations at the Sixth International Legal Ethics Conference in London, the Third Middle East Regional Conference on Clinical Legal Education in Istanbul, and at a convocation for the Law Society of Upper Canada in Toronto. She also delivered the Wickwire Lecture at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Fortney’s has conducted a number of empirical studies related to law firm ethics, governance and culture. Most recently, she completed a study on the new regulatory regime for incorporated firms in Australia. She is also completing the second edition of Legal Malpractice Law: Problems and Prevention (co-written). This is the first textbook focusing on legal malpractice.
Fortney has been recognized for her work as a teacher, scholar, and public servant. At Texas Tech she received numerous university awards, including the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest teaching award at Texas Tech University; the Spencer A. Wells Faculty Award for Creative Excellence in Teaching; and the Texas Tech President’s Academic Achievement Award. Texas Lawyer newspaper selected her as one of the 30 Extraordinary Women in Texas Law. The Texas Bar Foundation selected her as the recipient of the Lola Wright Foundation Award in recognition of outstanding public service in advancing and enhancing legal ethics. At Hofstra she was selected as the John Gregory Research Scholar in 2013. In 2014 she was awarded a research fellowship to represent Hofstra University as a visiting scholar at Harris Manchester College at Oxford University.
Fortney has been elected as a member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Foundation and the Texas Bar Foundation. She also is one of the seven members of the National Conference of Bar Examiners Committee that drafts the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination. She is a contributing Legal Professional editor for JOTWELL and serves as a member of the Board of Editors for the ABA Journal of the Professional Lawyer and the Professional Lawyer.