Professional Responsibility Outline

Topics: Attorney-client privilege, Work-product doctrine, Lawyer Pages: 77 (25539 words) Published: November 9, 2012
Reading for 8-21-12
* Introduction
* Ethics, morals, and professionalism
* Some central themes
* Conflicts of interest, truthfulness, duties to clients versus duties to the justice system, personal and professional interests versus fiduciary obligations, self-interest, lawyers as employees/institutional pressures on ethical judgments, and the changing legal profession REGULATION OF LAWYERS

* Institutions that regulate lawyers
* The highest state courts, state and local bar associations, lawyer disciplinary agencies, American Bar Association, American Law Institute, federal and state courts, legislatures, administrative agencies, prosecutors, malpractice insurers, law firms and other employers, clients * State ethics codes

* Functions
* To guide lawyers in evaluating what conduct is proper in various situations * To provide a basis for disciplining lawyers who violate the rules Reading for 8-23-12
* Admission to practice
* Bar examination
* Character and fitness
* Criteria for evaluation
* Application and information disclosure
* Character questionnaire
* Mental health of applicants
* Misconduct during law school
In re Mustafa (1993)
FACTS: Δ converted funds from the moot court program for his personal use REASONING:
– Δ is not of good moral character
– The court decided that too short of a time passed since the misconduct, and Mustafa has failed to establish that he has good character required for admission to the bar

Reading for 8-28-12

* Professional discipline
* Introduction
* How a disciplinary case proceeds:
* 1. Complaint by client or by a lawyer 2. Bar counsel investigates complaint 3. Charges are filed if warranted by investigation (OR if complaint doesn’t warrant charge, file closed) 4. Hearing committee conducts hearing, makes factual findings, recommends sanction 5. Hearing committee decision reviewed by judicial agency and/or by highest state court – reviewing body makes final decision on sanction * In most states, the highest court runs the disciplinary system * An independent office set up by the court uses paid staff attorneys to investigate and prosecute charges against lawyers * Some disciplinary offices are administered by state bar associations * Grounds for discipline

* Examples: misappropriating client funds, comingling law firm and client funds, missing court filing deadlines, failing to respond to client communications, committing mail fraud and tax evasion, and neglecting client cases (often b/c of substance abuse problems) * A lawyer may be disciplined for:

* Violation of the applicable ethics code whether or not the violation occurs in the course of law practice * And regardless of whether the violation occurs in the state in which the lawyer is admitted * For any conduct that’s dishonest or prejudicial to the administration of justice or that reflects lack of fitness to practice * i.e. domestic violence, failure to pay child support, drunk driving, putting slugs in parking meters, sending flowers to the funeral home offering legal assistance to a family * For misconduct that takes place while serving in an elected or appointed government position in relation to their duties as a public servant * For the commission of any criminal act that violates an ethical rule or that reflects dishonesty, untrustworthiness, or lack of fitness to practice * For committing a criminal act even if no criminal charge is filed or the lawyer is acquitted of a charge in a criminal proceedings * The purpose is to protect the public and the profession by disallowing practice by unfit lawyers * For inducing or assisting...
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