Legal Ethics (LAW-550-002)
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This course covers the principles and rules that govern lawyers’ conduct in the U.S. It satisfies the ABA requirement that all law students take a course in professional responsibility and know the basic rules and doctrines that apply to their future professional work. But its goals are more extensive than this. They include:
- sensitizing you to the variety of practice settings in which lawyers work and the different pressures these practice settings generate;
- giving you the tools to resolve the legal and ethical issues that lawyers confront every day in practice;
- teaching you to reflect on, analyze and discuss the relationship between your personal values and your future professional choices; and
- helping you navigate the enormous legal, cultural, and economic forces that shape the legal profession.
This course examines the lawyer’s role, the concept of a “profession,” the attorney-client relationship, and other major concepts in professional responsibility, including confidentiality and conflicts. It considers various types of lawyers, including criminal defense lawyers, prosecutors, lawyers for large organizations, solo and near-solo practitioners, public interest lawyers, and government lawyers. Throughout, the course looks at longstanding debates about the values that should underlie legal ethics, especially the tension between lawyers’ roles as nonjudgmental (or “neutral”) partisan advocates for their clients’ interests versus their duties to attend to public interest considerations or the “justice” of their work. We will also explore other key issues, including supervision of others, and lawyer wellness, satisfaction, stress, and substance abuse in the legal profession. The course will end with a simulation in which you will apply what you have learned to ethics in settlement negotiations.
Textbooks and Other Materials
The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.
- ANN SOUTHWORTH & CATHERINE FISK, THE LEGAL PROFESSION: ETHICS IN CONTEMPORARY PRACTICE, 2D EDITION (West Academic Pub., 2019), ISBN 9781642422443
- You can find the Model Rules on the American Bar Association's Professional Responsibility website. You may purchase a hardcopy if you choose.
- ABA Profile of the Legal Profession (2020) on the American Bar Association website.
- Carla D. Pratt, Should Klansmen be Lawyers?: Racism as an Ethical Barrier to the Legal Profession, 30 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. (2003), available at: http://ir.law.fsu.edu/lr/vol30/iss4/8
RULES—AVAILABLE ONLINE (HARD-COPY PURCHASE IS OPTIONAL)
First Class Readings
Read casebook pp. 5-24, 31-44, 51-60, 62-80
Study Model Rules 1.1, 1.3 and Comments
Use your MyAU username and password to access the syllabus in the following format(s):