The Catholic University of America

Lisa G. Lerman

Lisa G. Lerman is professor of law at The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, where she has taught since 1987. Professor Lerman teaches professional responsibility and family law. She also has taught contracts and clinical and externship courses.

Professor Lerman is co-author of Ethical Problems in the Practice of Law (Aspen 2005, 2008, and 2012) and of Learning from Practice: A Professional Development Text for Legal Externs (West 1998 and 2007). She has written many articles about lawyers, law firms, the legal profession and legal education. Much of her recent writing explores issues relating to lawyer dishonesty and billing fraud. Earlier work focused on domestic violence law.

Professor Lerman was a member of the planning committee for the ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility for many years, including two years as chair. She was a member of the Legal Ethics Committee of the DC Bar for four years.  She is a past chair of the Professional Responsibility Section of the Association of American Law Schools.

Professor Lerman has served as an expert witness on legal ethics issues, providing expert reports and expert testimony. She is often interviewed by journalists on legal ethics and legal profession issues. She has been a consultant on legal education issues, most often on legal ethics, externship programs, and teaching pedagogy, at several law American law schools and several in Europe.

Professor Lerman is a frequent lecturer on legal ethics and professionalism, often appearing on programs at national conferences sponsored by the American Bar Association, the Association of American Law Schools, the D.C. Bar, and other organizations. She has lectured on legal ethics and legal education issues at many law schools in the United States, including American University, Columbia University, the University of Denver, Fordham University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Hofstra University, the University of Maryland, the University of Memphis, Oklahoma City University, South Texas College of Law, Villanova University, William Mitchell College of Law.

Professor Lerman received a B.A. with honors in History from Barnard College, Columbia University, in 1976. She received a J.D. in 1979 from New York University School of Law, where she was senior articles editor of the N.Y.U. Review of Law and Social Change. She received an LL.M. in Advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center in 1984 after a two-year clinical fellowship at the Center for Applied Legal Studies. Before joining the faculty at Catholic University, Lerman was a staff attorney at the Center for Women Policy Studies, a Clinical Fellow at Antioch and Georgetown law schools, a member of the law faculty at West Virginia University, and an associate in a law firm. She has taught at the law schools of American University, George Washington University, and Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland).     


Research and Writing


Ethical Problems in the Practice of Law (Aspen Law and Business 2005) (textbook for Professional Responsibility, co-authored with Philip G. Schrag.

Learning from Practice: A Professional Development Text for Legal Externs (textbook for use in externship seminars, co-authored with Ogilvy, Wortham and others). (West Publishing Co., 1998).



Teaching Ethics in and Outside of Law Schools: What Works and What Doesn't, The Professional Lawyer (to be published 2006).

First Do No Harm: Law Professor Misconduct Toward Law Students, Journal of Legal Education (to be published 2006).

Greed among American Lawyers, Oklahoma City University Law Review (to be published 2006).

Billing Fraud versus Misappropriation: A Double Standard for Lawyer Dishonesty, Hofstra Law Review (to be published 2006).

Misconduct by Law Professors: Why it Matters, The Professional Lawyer 21 (2004).

The Slippery Slope from Ambition to Greed to Dishonesty: Lawyers, Money and Professional Integrity, 30 Hofstra Law Review 879 (2002).

Misattribution in Legal Scholarship: Plagiarism, Ghostwriting and Authorship
42 South Texas Law Review 467 (2001). 

Blue-Chip Bilking: Regulation of Billing and Expense Fraud by Lawyers, 12 Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 205 (1999)

Professional and Ethical Issues in Legal Externships: Fostering Commitment to Public Service, 67 Fordham Law Review 2295 (1999).

Scenes from a Law Firm 50 RUTGERS LAW REVIEW 2153 (1998)(lead article in a symposium with commentaries by Professor William Ross, Lawrence Fox, Esq., and James Schratz, Esq.)

Regulation of Unethical Billing Practices: Progress and Prospects, The Professional Lawyer 89 (ABA 1998).

Teaching Moral Perception and Moral Judgment in Legal Ethics Courses: A Dialogue about Goals 39 William and Mary Law Review 457 (1998).

1998 Caselaw Review (annual survey of cases relating to substance abuse and mental illness as a factor in bar admission and discipline, distributed at the ABA National Workshop for Lawyer Assistance Programs) (co-authored with four other members of the DC Bar Lawyer Counseling Committee).

Legal Issues in Violence toward Adults (co-authored with Naomi Cahn), chapter of Case Studies in Family Violence (Plenum Press 1990, updated for second edition, 1998).

The WCL Externship Program: Proposals for Development (March 1996) (monograph evaluating the structure and pedagogy of the externship program of the Washington College of Law, American University) (unpublished).

A Teacher's Trouble: Risk, Responsibility and Rebellion 2 Clinical Law Review 315 (1995) (transcript of 1995 AALS program on ethical dilemmas for law professors, planned and organized with Margaret Barry and Homer LaRue)

Fee-for-Service Clinical Teaching: Slipping Toward Commercialism, 1 Clinical Law Review 685 (1995).

Gross Profits: Questions about Lawyer Billing Practices,22 Hofstra Law Review 645 (1994). 

Struktura a metody právního vzdelaní v U.S.A. (The Structure and Methods of Legal Education in the United States), Evropské a Mezinárodní Právo (November and December 1992) (co-authored with Philip Schrag)

The Decontextualization of Domestic Violence, 83 Northwestern Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 217 (1992).

Public Service by Public Servants, 19 HOFSTRA LAW REVIEW 1141 (1991)(based on report to the Administrative Conference of the United States).

Lying to Clients, 138 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 659 (1990).
Excerpted in the National Law Journal, April 30, 1990, p. 13; reviewed in the New York Times, May 4, 1990, p. B4., and the London Times, September 4, 1990, p. 29; reprinted in part in The Lawyer's Weekly (Ontario), fall 1990.

Prosecuting Woman Abuse (co-authored with Naomi Cahn), chapter of Woman Battering: Policy Responses (Anderson Press 1990).

Enforcing the Law Against Wife Abusers: The Role of Mental Health Professionals, chapter of Family Violence: Emerging Issues of a National Crisis (American Psychiatric Press 1989).

Domestic Abuse and Mediation: Guidelines for Mediators and Policy Makers (1989) (co-authored with Mary Pat Brygger and Sheila Kuehl) (report to Dept. of Justice). 

The Learning Contract in Legal Education (with Jane Aiken, David Koplow, J.P. Ogilvy, and Philip Schrag), 44 University of Maryland Law Review 1047 (1985).

Mediation of Wife Abuse Cases: The Adverse Impact of Informal Dispute Resolution on Women, 7 Harvard Women's Law Journal 57 (1984). Reprinted: in part, in S. Goldberg, E. Green, and F. Sander, Dispute Resolution (Little Brown 1985); in part, in R. Cover, O. Fiss, and J. Resnik, Procedure (Foundation 1988).

A Model State Act: Remedies for Domestic Abuse, 21 Harvard Journal on Legislation 61 (1984).

Handling Domestic Violence Cases, chapter of FAMILY LAW AND PRACTICE (Matthew Bender 1985).

Expansion of Police Arrest Power: A Key to Effective Intervention, 7 Vermont Law Review 59 (1982).

Protection of Battered Women: A Survey of State Legislation, 6 Women's Rights Law Reporter 271 (1980).

Reprinted: in part, in J. Stark and H.W. Goldstein, The Rights of Crime Victims (Bantam 1983); in S.D. Ross, A. Barcher, The Rights of Women: The Basic ACLU Guide to a Woman's Rights (Bantam 1983); in J. Costa, Abuse of Women: Legislation, Reporting and Prevention (Lexington 1983); and in Everywoman's Legal Handbook (Doubleday 1982) (some reprints are of an updated edition published in 1983 by the Center for Women Policy Studies).

Prosecution of Spouse Abuse: Innovations in Criminal Justice Response (monograph published by the Center for Women Policy Studies 1981). Reprinted: in part, as a chapter of M. Lystad, ed., The Violent Home (Brunner/Mazel 1985) (adapted); in part, in Police and Law Enforcement (3 ed. AMC Press 1981).

A Family Affair (training film for judges on domestic violence produced by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts) (development and script-writing with Susan Shadburne and others) (Will Vinton Productions 1981).

Editor, Colloquium, Violent Pornography: Degradation of Women Versus Right of Free Speech, 8 N.Y.U. Review of Law and Social Change 181 (1979)

Discrimination in Access to Public Places: A Survey of State and Federal Public Accommodations Law," 7 N.Y.U. Review of Law and Social Change 215 (1978)(co-authored with Annette Sanderson).

Op-Eds and other Short Articles

The Simulated Patient (commentary on the observational study of private service delivery by professionals) Public Health Reports 133 (March/April 1996)

Webb's Web, Los Angeles Times (June 28, 1995) (op ed on Webster Hubbell's guilty plea to charges alleging that he stole over $394,000 from clients and partners).

Contingent Fees: Are they Out of Control?, ABA Journal 45 (July 1995).

Legal Analysis: An Inventory of Skills, The Law Teacher (published by the Institute for Law Teaching at Gonzaga University School of Law) (1993).

The Teaching of Alternative Dispute Resolution, 37 Journal of Legal Education 37 (1987).

Stopping Domestic Violence: A Guide for Mediators, chapter of American Bar Association, Alternative Means of Family Dispute Resolution (1982).

Monthly articles on developments in domestic violence law for Response to Violence in the Family (Center for Women Policy Studies 1979-1981).

Legal Help for Battered Women (Center for Women Policy Studies 1980)
Reprinted: in Legal Help for Battered Military Wives, with William Schaap, in Wife Abuse in the Armed Forces (Center for Women Policy Studies 1981) (adapted); in Spanish (HHS 1981); in People's Law Review (Nolo Press 1981).

In Her Words ...

"One of the things I love about law teaching is helping students to begin to chart their own professional paths. Often this work happens during one-on-one conversations in my office. We talk about a student’s interests, passions and life goals, and then we discuss externships, clinics, course selection, and other steps along the path to a worthy and satisfying career."

– Lisa G. Lerman


Office: 468 Law School
The Catholic University of America
3600 John McCormack Rd., NE
Washington, D.C. 20064




  • Professional Responsibility


Georgetown University Law Center, 1984

New York University School of Law, 1979   

Barnard College, Columbia University, 1976 


Areas of Expertise

  • Professional Responsibility
  • Legal Ethics
  • Externships and Clinical Legal Education
  • For additional information about our professors' areas of speciality, see the Catholic University Experts page.


  • Past chair, Professional Responsibility Section, AALS
  • Nationally recognized lecturer on legal ethics and professionalism