Welcome! We would like you to join our community as we promote study of, and debate regarding, the professional responsibility of lawyers. Although our blog will serve as a resource for users of Professional Responsibility: A Contemporary Approach (2nd. ed 2013), the current developments, innovative teaching materials, and commentary should be thought-provoking and fun for all those interested in the legal profession. Please feel free to share your ideas and we will post as much as we can.
Torture by the CIA is back in the news thanks to the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the CIA Detention and Interrogation Program. The role of lawyers is a worthwhile topic for a term paper or more. Click through below for links to materials. – gwc
OTHERWISE: Torture – the lawyers' role.
Conservative Attorneys General talk the tort reform talk when they woo their donors and primary voters. But when faced with the chance to be populist heroes and put cash in the state coffers they often turn into aggressive and innovative plaintiffs lawyers. -gwc
Posner: What’s wrong with legal education today?
by Ronald K. L. Collins //Concurring Opinions
Question: What do you think is the single greatest shortcoming of legal education in America today?
Posner: There are several shortcomings; I don’t know how to rank them.
1.) Legal education is too expensive, in part because law school faculties are too large.
2.) Not enough law professors, especially at the elite law schools, have substantial practical experience as lawyers, and
3.) Law school teaching focuses excessively on legal doctrine, to the exclusion of adequate attention to facts, business practices, science and technology, psychology, judicial mentality and behavior, legal practice, and application of legal principles.
Question: Insofar as the teaching of legal ethics is concerned, is teaching the rules of professional responsibility and the cases interpreting them enough in your opinion? Or should some significant attention be devoted to familiarizing law students with some of the great works of the Western Philosophical tradition? – say, to Plato’s Gorgias or Aristotle’s Rhetoric?
Posner: I don’t consider instruction in legal ethics an important part of legal education. Aristotle’s Rhetoric is pertinent to the rhetorical dimension of legal practice, rather than to legal ethics. Gorgias can be read as critical of lawyers’ tricks, though there were no lawyers as such in fourth century b.c. Athens.”
Attorney Robert Rubenstein has sued the Florida Bar over its new and improved 2013 attorney advertising rules. Following the issuance of the new regulations, Rubenstein developed an advertising campaign that included information regarding past recoveries for clients. Consistent with the Florida Bar’s procedures, these ads were submitted for review, and the Florida Bar issued opinion letters which reported that the past performance advertisements complied with the revised Rules.
View an example of the advertisements in question at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFjHTQF4dkQ
By early 2014, the Florida Bar issued new guidelines regarding advertising past results, and then the Bar notified Rubenstein that it was withdrawing its opinion letter on compliance. By March 2014, Rubenstein sued the Florida Bar on first amendment grounds.
In the instant case, heard by Federal Judge Beth Bloom, the Florida Bar challenged jurisdiction on the basis of standing and ripeness. Judge Bloom disagreed and denied the Florida Bar’s motion.”Plaintiffs have clearly demonstrated a very real threat of prosecution for engaging in their advertisement of past results.” The slip opinion is available at 2014 WL 6610972.
See Lectures Aren’t Just Boring, They’re Ineffective, Too, Study Finds, a Science Magazine article describing research conducted by Prof. Scott Freeman and colleagues at University of Washington. H/T Ross Miller
If you are a fan of Breaking Bad — or simply looking for popular culture examples of egregious lawyer conduct — the Aizman Law Firm has prepared a list of 69 crimes committed by Saul, the lawyer in Breaking Bad. These fact situations of course raise additional legal ethics issues. H/T Ross Miller.