This course explores the legal principles and rules that govern lawyers and law practice. We will use the Model Rules of Professional Conduct as our framework and cover topics that include the regulation of lawyers, the attorney-client relationship, the duties of confidentiality, zealous representation and candor to the court, and conflicts of interest. We will take a problem-oriented approach to help students develop analytical tools to identify and resolve ethical issues. Our approach to solving ethical problems will use traditional methods of legal analysis, real life experiences and theories of decision making that recognize the biases that can lead to error. We will also discuss how adhering to ethical rules can help make a technically competent lawyer into a great lawyer. And we will analyze how being an ethical lawyer can lead to a meaningful professional life and contribute to the public good.
The goals of this course are:
- to master the core Rules of Professional Conduct and related substantive and procedural law;
- to recognize ethical issues early before it is too late to resolve them;
- to learn to make compelling arguments on legal ethics issues and to resolve those issues;
- to explore how the ethical lawyer can be professionally fulfilled; and
- to apply insights from the field of psychology to avoid bias in resolving ethical issues and to find happiness in the practice of law.