Ethics Outline

Topics: Lawyer, Bar association, Law Pages: 51 (13938 words) Published: April 12, 2013
* Principles that define how we behave as lawyers
* Substantive law
* Civil, criminal liability if violated
* Restatement – summarizes black letter of law that governs lawyers * Court, procedural, evidentiary rules
* If violated, sanctions that will not only impact lawyers but also perhaps the client * Ethical rules
* Comes from the MRPC – Model Rules of Professional Conduct * Subject to discipline by the Bar
* This is the minimum floor of our behavior; remember personal sense of ethics, values * Various duties
* To client
* To court
* To public
* To the place of business where you work
* To yourself
* Ethics overview
* Morals – innate sense of right and wrong
* Ethics – can be the study of morality; as used in this class, it is the system of moral values for a group * Ethics types
* Meta-ethics – big picture, theoretical
* Normative ethics – looks at justifications for moral value; asks why we think something is good or bad * Applied ethics – uses general theories and applies them to specific problems * Critical morality – analyze, criticize – should we change things? Are the rules good? * Positive morality

* Ethical frameworks
* Moral relativism – whatever is, is; everything is relative, up to individuals * No universal moral truths; relative to individuals / cultures * Helpful for lawyers who work with clients they don’t agree with * Danger – disconnect

* Also – treats all moral values as equivalent
* Almost no one accepts the full implications of this framework – natural to condemn certain behaviors like slavery or terrorism * Consequentialism – utilitarianism; asks what is the greatest good for the greatest number of people * Judges the rightness or wrongness of the actions based on their consequences * Utilitarianism – evaluates actions based on the pleasure they create or pain they inflict * But, hard to weigh all costs and benefits

* Duty/deontological – looks at individuals; says we have a duty to behave in a certain way * Nature of the action – if nature is bad, it can never be okay * Responsibilities are typically grounded on universal, generalizable principles * Virtue ethics – based on character of the actor, rather than on the nature of the act or its consequences – idea that you learn behavior * Pro bono work – can altruism be learned?

I. The lawyer as professional
1) Ethics, morality and the legal profession
* The Profession
* Characteristics – heightened duties
* Status, including a title
* Advanced education – specialized knowledge beyond what the average person knows; knowledge passed down within the profession; use the advanced knowledge to make complex judgments on behalf of clients * Clients can’t adequately evaluate the quality of the service they must trust those they consult * Client’s trust presupposes that the lawyer’s self-interest is overbalanced by devotion serving both the client’s interest and the public good * Power disparity b/w the client and professional leads to heightened duties – fiduciary, confidentiality * Self-regulation & licensure

* Assure the public and the courts that its members are competent, don’t violate clients’ trust, and transcend their own self interest * Public service
* Differences b/w the Bar and Bar Association
* Bar – group of lawyers admitted to practice in a certain state * Each state controls bar membership
* Bar Association – group of lawyers organized for social and professional reasons * Have elitist origins
* Formed in many places originally to keep out non-whites...
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