It’s time to make those New Year’s resolutions, when waistbands are tight, wallets are empty and even a dry martini has lost its appeal. Some people vow to slash carbs. Others promise to read that copy of “Moby-Dick” taking up space on the bookshelf. Come April, however, most of those pledges are distant memories, and no one’s called anybody Ishmael. But there are exceptions.

We asked some top lawyers and legal pros to share their New Year’s resolutions. Turns out, they’re earnest about their plans, intending to improve their performances and the profession and to uphold the Rule of Law, as 2017 ushers in President Donald Trump.

Here’s what they had to say:

Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr.

“Stay true to fundamental principles: Rule of Law, free speech and free press, equality and due process. Be strategic, honest and unflinching.”

Theodore Boutrous, partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher


George Terwilliger.

“I would resolve to resist more often demands for instant answers over email and the like, so that I can think more and discuss things with colleagues—part of the joy of being a lawyer.”

George Terwilliger, partner, McGuireWoods


Harmeet Dhillon.

“I will take a page from Donald J. Trump’s ‘The Art of the Deal’ about reaching for your dreams: ‘To me it’s very simple: if you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big.’ Look where that approach to life got him!”

Harmeet Dhillon, founder, Dhillon Law Group, Republican National committeewoman, California


H. Rodgin Cohen.

“To promote not merely the Rule, but the majesty, of the law and its unassailable place in our society.”

- H. Rodgin Cohen, senior chairman, Sullivan & Cromwell


Marcia Clark.

“My New Year’s resolution? Not to make any more New Year’s resolutions. I mean, why bother? I’m going to do what the hell I want, regardless.”

Marcia Clark, O.J. Simpson prosecutor, author and television correspondent


William Lee.

“To do whatever I can to remind us that we are a profession dedicated above all to the Rule of Law.”

William Lee, partner, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr


Madeleine McDonough.

“I work better with having daily resolutions. I take a few minutes each morning to pause, calibrate the changing landscape, and then engage with people to share notes and identify new opportunities. And hopefully we have a little fun along the way.”

Madeleine McDonough, chairwoman, Shook, Hardy & Bacon


Christopher Poole.

“I am going to brush off my piano skills after a long break from the keys.”

Christopher Poole, president and CEO, JAMS


Jayne Conroy.

“I resolve to advance diversity by being more proactive among my colleagues, even when it sometimes feels uncomfortable to speak up.”

Jayne Conroy, name shareholder, Simmons Hanly Conroy


Elie Mystal.

“My New Year’s resolution is nonviolent resistance … by any means necessary.”

Elie Mystal, editor-at-large, Breaking Media



Contact Leigh Jones at ljones@alm.com. On Twitter: @LeighJones711