Professional Responsibility: Ethical Issues in Civil Litigation
This is a basic course on professional responsibility, with a particular emphasis on ethical problems of interest to civil litigators.
This is a three credit course, with an in-class examination. The text is Lerman and Schrag, Ethical Problems in the Practice of Law (Aspen 2005).
Like most professional responsibility courses, this one will use the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct to examine basic duties to the client (e.g., competence, confidentiality, conflicts of interest,consultation) as well as to third parties, the courts and the public. However, this course will delve deeper into issues of particular interest to civil litigators. These include ethical dimensions of settlement negotiations, discovery and evidence gathering (e.g., inadvertent disclosure of confidential information, the use of deception in undercover investigations), and client and witness perjury, interviewing and coaching. Likewise, the course will closely examine conflicts of interest of particular importance in civil litigation, including in insurance defense work and class actions. This is a discussion course, which will employ hypothetical and not-so-hypothetical problems to think through ethical issues confronted by practicing lawyers. The discussions will be supplemented by film
excerpts, audio statements from lawyers actually involved in the problem cases in the text, and occasional guest speakers.