Powerful YouTube Video Relevant to Rule 8.4(g)

Professor Amy Salyzyn from the U. of Ottawa has circulated to the Canadian legal ethics community a link to this video entitled “But I was Wearing a Suit…” She also provided this description:

A compelling video that listserv members may be interested in watching. For those who teach legal ethics, also content to consider adding to our syllabi.  As described on YouTube:

 “A grassroots project of a group of Indigenous Lawyers, with the support of CLEBC and the Law Society of BC. To encourage discussion about stereotyping and bias within the legal profession, Indigenous lawyers were asked to submit their stories about the racism and stereotyping they have faced in the practice of law”

Amy is correct that this is a compelling and powerful video.  It is about 25 minutes long, but you can watch as much or as little of it as you want.  It contains numerous snippets of indigenous Canadian lawyers reciting into the camera their experiences, including numerous examples of times in which they were assumed not to be lawyers or treated rudely by fellow lawyers or court personnel.  This could be very useful to assign or show in class when teaching Rule 8.4(g).

But I was wearing a suit

Connecting With Students in the Virtual PR Classroom Using Informal Videos

One of the best ways to connect with students in the virtual classroom is to use informal videos for periodic updates and check-ins.  These videos are different from what I call instructional videos.  I use instructional videos to cover doctrinal fundamentals, with follow-up assessments and activities to deepen and assess learning.  For example, in my PR course, I may have a pre-recorded video on Rule 1.6 confidentiality vs. the attorney-client privilege.  While there are techniques for connecting with students in these instructional videos, because I create the videos well before the semester start and because they may be used for more than one semester, these videos often lack personalization.

To increase personalization and to better connect with an individual class, I use informal videos to start each unit.  These are short, typically 4-5 minutes, and include a quick review of the previous week and a few comments about the upcoming material.  I try to always reference one or more student’s work and to include anything else that lets the students know they are heard; I may also discuss a current event or recent issue.  While my more-formal instructional videos display my screen images (power points and other visuals) covering the doctrinal material, these informal videos are just me, speaking directly to the students.

This is how it works in my current, asynchronous summer class.  I email the week’s assignments before noon on Monday, with all work due by 5 pm Sunday**, giving me time to review on Sunday evening what the students understand and where they need more help.  On Monday morning, as I prepare to send out the weekly assignments, I create my short video and send it with the materials.  Here’s an example; I made this video using the free version of Screencast-O-Matic, my computer’s built-in web camera, and a $24 headset.  You will note it is not scripted, not professionally staged or lighted, and not edited; the goal is conversational.

These quick, easy, informal videos allow me to personalize what is often erroneously assumed to be a canned course.  As always, I’m happy to answer any questions: murphyme@wfu.edu.

**While some asynchronous courses give students complete control over pacing, our course does so on a week-by-week basis.  In other words, students work independently on one unit each week and are required to complete all components of the unit within the week.  All assignments are due on a specific day, at a specific time.  This allows students to act as a cohort of sorts throughout the course, facilitating both formal and informal group work.  It also allows students to feel more connected to one another and prevents any one student from getting too far behind – or too far ahead.

Video and podcast for teaching confidentiality

This 60 Minutes interview with two attorneys who stayed silent for 26 years while an innocent man–Alton Logan (also interviewed in the piece)–remained in prison sparks great class discussion regarding the duty of confidentiality:  Lawyers Keep 26 Year Secret  http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4126194n

I’ve started assigning podcasts as part of the class preparation assignment — this short piece highlights information security issues for lawyers related to client confidentiality, and is a useful supplement to the reading material in our casebook:  ABA Law Practice Management Information Security for Lawyers Podcast http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/multimedia/law_practice_management/201106_information_security_for_lawyers.authcheckdam.mp3

Great video clips for teaching attorney fees and billing

I’m teaching Chapter 3, Finding and Billing Clients, today.  Here are two video clips from the ReInvent Law Channel, each about 5 minutes, that provide insights into the materials.  The first is from Ron Gruner, who offers a client’s perspective on big firm billing:  We’re On a Mission.  The second is from Silvia Hodges, who describes how general counsels are using data analytics to better understand how law firms bill for their time:  Efficiency by the Numbers.

Chapter 7 Videos

Like Russ (see here), I try to regularly incorporate short video clips in class.  I use video to hear from parties involved in cases that we read about, and I also use video to set up additional scenarios for discussion based upon the reading.  Here are two clips I’ve used while teaching Chapter 7, Special Ethical Rules: Prosecutors and Judges.  These both address prosecutors.  Clips for judges to follow soon!

This is a film from Dateline MSNBC about Prosecutor Stephen Bibb, who assisted the defense because he believed that the men he was assigned to prosecute, Olmedo Hildalgo and David Lemus, were innocent.  I don’t show the full film in class–but show a couple of highlights to set up a discussion, and then play the judge’s comments from the bench, applauding Bibb’s decision. For more on the case, see this NYT article.

This is an interview with John Thompson, whose $14 million jury verdict for wrongful conviction (based upon the withholding of exculpatory evidence) was overturned by the US Supreme Court in Connick v. Thompson.

Chapter 6 Videos: Gentile, Kunstler and Enron

One of my goals this semester has been to use a 1-2 minute video clip every 10-15 powerpoint pages.  Here are three of the videos I used in Chapter 6:

1.  For Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada, I showed the trailer from the Duke Law School documentary on the case.

2.  For the case holding WIlliam Kunstler in contempt, I shared an excerpt from the documentary on Kunstler, Disturbing the Universe.

3.  For the section on financial scandals, I used a short video on the Enron scandal.

Brilliant Rap Video Overview of Legal Ethics

By Russ Pearce

The People of Channel 38, a group of American University law grads, have created a top quality rap video which presents an overview of legal ethics.

It’s so brilliant that I would love to use it in class but I worry that some students may be offended.  Instead, I am assigning as optional viewing.

What do you think?  Please let us know.

Toward the Abolition of Slavery under the Aegis of Islamic Law – The Comparative Jurist

Source: OTHERWISE: Toward the Abolition of Slavery under the Aegis of Islamic Law – The Comparative Jurist

Lawyers have long sought not only to clarify but to improve the law.  So it is with the three great Abrahamic monotheistic faiths – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam  They are religions of the book.  Scripture is a powerful command, but like the United States Constitution adherents and aspirants find themselves impaled on the products of the founding fathers contradictions. In U.S. law it is between the Enlightenment values of the slave-holding signers of  the Declaration of Independence and the protection  and acquiescence in racism and chattel slavery embedded in the Constitution of 1787.  Only Civil War could end it and even so the post civil war Second Founding was only a qualified success.
Similarly Christianity – a dissenters religion founded on lionization of the victim of an unjust execution has (at least since becoming the religion of empire in 314 AD.) tolerated war and capital punishment.  Only in the past few years has the Catechism of the Catholic Church abjured capital punishment.
Evidenced by the practices and justifications claimed by ISIS and Boko Haram  Bernard  Freamon argues that although freeing slaves is lauded in the Quran the practice – particularly in war – is not definitively abjured.   His objective is to spur Islamic scholars and lawyers to develop the foundation in Islamic law for complete abolition,  – GWC
Toward the Abolition of Slavery under the Aegis of Islamic Law – The Comparative Jurist William & Mary Law School
by Bernard Freamon (author of Possessed by the Right Hand, The Problem of Slavery in Islamic Law and Muslim Cultures)

Welcome!

Welcome to our community of professional responsibility teachers! This web site provides teaching resources, ranging from syllabi and powerpoints to real time updates and videos. The web site accompanies our casebook Professional Responsibility:  A Contemporary Approach (4th ed. 2020). The Casebook uses the problem method and offers learning outcomes, multiple choice assessment questions, role plays and simulations, and an interactive online version that includes short audio lectures. Please feel free to share your ideas and resources with our community of adopters.

You may review the Table of Contents here.

We look forward to getting to know you and working with you and our fellow adopters.

Renee Knake Jefferson, Russell G. Pearce, Bruce A. Green, Peter A. Joy, Sung Hui Kim, M. Ellen Murphy,  Laurel S. Terry, & Lonnie T. Brown, Jr.

Summer PR Course – Week 1 Questions

In my summer asynchronous PR course @WFULawSchool, I had my students include a PR question they have as part of their intro discussion post.  It’s always interesting to see what students are thinking about with respect to PR, before class starts.  I put them together in a video for the students and talked through each one – here they are!  (with edits and all identifying info deleted)

 

5 Year Prison Term for a Lawyer Using his IOLTA Account to Launder Money

The ABA Journal and Law.com have reported the story of a San Diego lawyer who was sentenced to five years in prison for using his IOLTA account to facilitate money-laundering activities.  In his plea agreement, attorney Medina admitted  that he used his IOLTA account for the receipt, transport, and transmission of cash to international destinations and that he  “knew or had reason to know that the cash transactions described [therein] were proceeds of unlawful activity, or were intended to promote unlawful activity.”

This new story can be used in Chapter 2 when teaching Rule 1.2(d), which states that a lawyer “shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent….”   Although PR profs cannot possibly teach the substantive law of all crimes, I think it is important to make sure that our students are familiar with 18 U.S.C. § 1956.  Among other things, § 1956 makes it a felony “to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership, or the control of the proceeds of specified unlawful activity.”   This means that activity that is perfectly legal in one context (such as forming one or more corporations) may be illegal if the purpose of that otherwise legal conduct is to hide the location or source of the proceeds of crime.  (The 60 Minutes/Global Witness videos and the Panama Papers leak can provide useful hypos for discussion).

The San Diego case shows students that lawyers who assist money laundering activity face criminal law sanctions, as well as disciplinary sanctions under Rule 1.2(d).   I found it noteworthy that the plea agreement with Attorney Medina recited that he knew or had reason to know that the money in his IOLTA account were proceeds of unlawful activity, or were intended to promote unlawful activity.

For additional information about the role of lawyers in preventing money-laundering, see this ABA Task Force webpage and the guidance provided by the ABA and jointly by the IBA, CCBE, and ABA about how to identify money-laundering red flags.  (I give my students a 2-page summary of the ABA’s red flags guidance.)

My other work about lawyers and money-laundering includes these slides about the potential impact on US lawyer regulation of FATF’s 4th Mutual Evaluation of the US; slides that focus on US efforts to educate lawyers about money-laundering; and slides and a 2 page handout that discuss how US lawyer regulation could be affected if US lawyers don’t recognize money laundering situations. My most recent article about this topic is available here.

Teaching PR Online This Summer or Fall?

Or thinking about it?
Below is a piece I originally did for the Huffington Post Tech Blog, Dispelling Myths About Online Learning.  As always, I’m happy to discuss my experiences teaching professional responsibility online at Wake Forest.  Feel free to contact me!  murphyme@wfu.edu

Despite the growing number of virtual students, many academics still believe outcomes for online education are inferior to those of face-to-face instruction, according to Babson Survey Research Group’s most recent annual report, Online Report Card – Tracking Online Education in the United States.

In my experience, the opposite is true.

Many who doubt the effectiveness of virtual classrooms have not been exposed to thoughtfully designed, rigorous courses that use technology purposefully to engage students and achieve better learning outcomes. Following are some of the most common misconceptions about online learning.

Myth 1:  Online learning denotes a single model.

There are many, often contradictory, definitions of online learning.  When you read, think or talk about online learning, it is important to be specific. While there are endless possibilities, with new ones developing each day, there are two fundamental categories of which you should be aware: asynchronous and synchronous. These terms distinguish when the interactions between and among students and teachers occur.

In a fully asynchronous classroom, students work independently, and to some extent on their own schedule, although rigorous programs have regularly scheduled due dates to allow for meaningful professor feedback on formative assessments. Fully synchronous classes are online interactions that occur simultaneously between and among students and professors.  These may include real time video, and often all students can see the teacher, and vice versa.

Online courses may have both asynchronous and synchronous components; in addition, traditional classrooms may include components of online learning. We call these blended or hybrid courses; the flipped classroom is one example.

Myth 2:  It is impossible to connect in an online classroom.

Connection is important to promote student engagement, and therefore deeper learning and outcome achievement. Many who have no experience with online learning, or who have experience with poor quality online classrooms, assume that the physical distance necessarily creates an inability to connect among professors and students. In my experience, the opposite is true. Not only are students and professors shocked at how connected they are in a virtual course, but in fully synchronous learning venues, some students say it is an even more intimate learning experience than the physical classroom.

With thoughtful implementation, technology can actually increase connection. There are more ways to connect in the virtual classroom than in many physical classrooms, which can be large, impersonal and lack adequate audio or visual technology. Some of the tools I use for connecting with students online include: class websites and blogs; pre-course surveys to get to know the class, collectively and individually; class hashtags for social media; group collaboration with professor guidance; and implementation of user-friendly communication tools, such as Remind.com’s texting service, Google Hangouts, or Skype video chats.

In addition, more frequent, personalized communication with students, either through email, text, audio or informal video, can dramatically increase the connectedness of a virtual course.

Myth 3:  Online courses are commoditized and lack rigor.

Many professors and students alike assume that online learning means students can take as little or as much time as they need to complete assignments. This is not true. Quality online programs demand a high level of engagement, interaction and participation.

For example, the fully asynchronous courses I teach combine flexibility with interactivity and collaborative learning. Courses include pre-recorded videos and podcasts that I have created and produced specifically for my class. Students progress through units each week, with regular assignment due dates, peer collaboration and a high level of professor interaction and feedback, unmatched in many traditional classrooms.

With thoughtful implementation of the proper tools to achieve the desired learning outcomes, the virtual venue not only allows, but in many ways encourages, customization and personalization, the opposite of commoditization.  Student-centered instruction that allows for active learning prevents the course from becoming a spectator sport, promoting rigor as well as relevance to the learner.

4. Online learning is all about the technology, not the learning.

The use of technology in the classroom is not a new idea; my ‘80s elementary school classes were filled with film-strips, overhead projectors, and media carts with a single television and VCR. These technologies were used to expose our classroom in rural North Carolina to a broader world and therefore, enhance our opportunities for learning. While the capabilities of today’s technologies are certainly greater, the goals of their use should be no different.

Learning, not the delivery media, venue or other tool, should always be the driver. Good instructional designers and educational technologists begin by listening to the teacher, determining what the learning outcomes are, and selecting a tool only if it helps achieve those outcomes. When done properly, a professor’s ways and means are not lost but in fact enhanced by technology.

New Study Out: The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns Among American Attorneys

As a former Lawyer Assistance Program Executive Director at Lawyers Concerned for Lawyer in Massachusetts, I was distressed by the new study that reveals: (1) young lawyers are at an increased risk of problem drinking and mental health issues; and (2) overall these issues in the legal profession may be higher than previously thought.  The study was conducted jointly by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

According to the study:
  • 21% of licensed, employed attorneys are problem drinkers;
  • 28% struggle with some level of depression; and
  • 19% demonstrate symptoms of anxiety.
Each semester, I take a few minutes in PR to address the availability of LAPs for lawyers and law students.  And, I include coverage of Rule 8.3 at the same time. If you’re interested in talking points, feel free to email me – murphyme@wfu.edu.  I also have had LAP staff and members speak with my class, with great success.  Video conferencing makes this even easier today.  In addition, CoLAP has a range of resources, including links to LAPs in each state, speaker lists, and articles.

More on the study from the ABA here; from the ABA Journal here; and from the NYTimes here.  A copy of the study from the Journal of Addition Medicine is available here.

Will Lawyers Follow Doctors in Providing Legal Services through Skype?

The New York Times describes how the practice of providing of medical advice, including the prescription of medicine, through the internet is expanding, and at the same time meeting resistance from some doctors.  Although law firms already provide advice to businesses and wealthy individuals through video communication, could internet video calls become a common way for lawyers to meet, and provide services to, middle income clients and small businesses?  These developments raise issues relating to creation of the lawyer-client relationship, competence/malpractice, confidentiality, conflicts, and future directions for business and technology of legal practice.