Even in Ben Franklin's time, the public held cynical views about lawyers. Have things changed? What can we learn from historical perspectives on lawyers? How can one be a better practitioner and help negate some of the lingering negative attitudes toward today’s lawyers?
In this engaging and informative program, Ben Franklin (who worked with more lawyers than most modern day practitioners) challenges today’s lawyers to expand their own notion of ethics much as he himself did during his own life. Portrayed by Christopher Lowell, internationally acclaimed actor, historian, and Franklin scholar, Ben discusses the ethical issues he confronted and challenges attendees to put ethical considerations at the heart of legal practice. Franklin speaks of the importance of ethical practices and the spirit of Pro Bono Publico as the underpinnings of a virtuous life. Questions for discussion are based on the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
Christopher Lowell, Ben Franklin Live
Christopher Lowell, who portrays Ben Franklin, is an internationally known actor, historical scholar and Franklin presenter. A native New Yorker, Lowell has had a dual career in the classroom and on the stage. After graduating from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with a B.A. and a double major in theater and French, he went on to get his M.A. in 18th century French Literature from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. He taught French and theater for over 40 years and has been an actor for over fifty-five years. Lowell has twice been honored with “Best Actor of the Year” awards from the press in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Lowell’s double career took him, as it did Franklin, to both Philadelphia and to France. In Philadelphia, he taught and acted for six years. In France, where he was awarded a grant as a Fulbright Exchange Teacher for the academic year 1992-93, he taught in Brittany—the region where Ben Franklin first touched French soil in December of 1776. In 2007, as a guest of the French government, Lowell brought Ben Franklin “back” to Paris for the first time in 222 years for a series of presentations in French to the French diplomatic and business communities.
Since his retirement from teaching Mr. Lowell is bringing the extraordinary life and accomplishments of Ben Franklin to an ever-widening range of audiences on a full-time basis. No stranger to legal groups, Mr. Lowell has presented CLEs to numerous legal audiences, including the Colorado Springs Bar, the Nebraska Bar and Pennsylvania Bar Institute. He and his wife Sue live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Anna Marie Thatcher, Esq.
ANNA MARIE THATCHER is the Owner and Managing Producer for Periaktos Productions and is the producer of all of their CLE Theatre programs and movies. She is an attorney and has worked for forty-five years with artists and visual and performing arts organizations as an arts consultant, producer and director. She is the co-author, producer and director of Clarence Darrow: Crimes, Causes and the Courtroom, Maxims, Monarchy and Sir Thomas More and Impeach Justice Douglas!, the live CLE Theatre programs and CLE movies of the same titles presented by Periaktos Productions. She is the co-author of the script for their stage production and movie version of Thurgood Marshall’s Coming!
Anna Marie is a licensed member of the Minnesota Bar and continues to work with artists and nonprofit arts organizations She holds a B.A. from Dakota Wesleyan University (Mitchell, SD), an M.A. in Theatre from the University of South Dakota, and a J.D. from Hamline University School of Law (St. Paul, Minnesota). She is a member of the ABA, the Minnesota Bar Association and ACLEA (Association of Continuing Legal Education) and is listed in Who's Who in American Law. Anna Marie also serves as volunteer for non-profit organizations with formation and tax exemption issues and serves on the Advisory Board of the Black Hills Film Festival. She served for 20 years on the Board of the Black Hills Playhouse Alumni Association as its president, initiating and managing several major projects over that time to raise funds for the Playhouse. She continues to produce independent CLE programs and theatrical productions and makes her home in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Brian T. Guthrie, Esq.
BRIAN T. GUTHRIE, ESQ. is Of Counsel with Mattioni, LTD in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With nearly forty years experience at the Pennsylvania bar, Mr. Guthrie’s practice includes assisting lawyers and law firms achieve success in a setting mindful of the tradition of the law as a learned profession. He believes lawyers can attain professional fulfillment by synthesizing several dimensions in which they work every day.
“Competence” and “integrity” are easily mouthed as platitudes, but a refined understanding of what they are and how they are achieved makes for a law practice that is personally satisfying. It also provides a competitive advantage when vying for a limited number of clients with what often seems to be a limitless supply of lawyers. He believes that the skill development that comes with a true understanding of what it is that lawyers actually do, together with a firm grasp of the relevant ethical considerations is not only personally rewarding, but also makes good business sense.
Mr. Guthrie has worked in numerous areas of the law and achieved the coveted highest peer rating awarded by a major law publisher. His professional experiences include partnership in a major law firm, acting as senior in-house counsel to a Fortune 500 Company, representing a major city and working in a small law firm. His litigation experience includes representation in both state and federal courts throughout the United States and includes jury trials, arbitrations and appellate matters.
He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the First and Third Circuits, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Eastern District of Tennessee. Mr. Guthrie has also represented clients in state courts in Illinois, New Jersey, New York, South Dakota and Tennessee. Mr. Guthrie holds a B.B.A. from Temple University and a J.D. from the James Beasley School of Law - also at Temple University in Philadelphia. Mr. Guthrie is listed in Philadelphia’s Top Lawyers: The Definitive Guide to Legal Representation in Philadelphia.