Legal Ethics Unplugged

I’ve spent most of the summer working on the materials for Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility.  As I wrote a while ago, this will be my first time teaching this course, and I’m looking forward to it.  I’m struggling with the usual problem of trying to fit too much reading–all of it interesting and useful–into a manageable load for my students.  It’s especially hard to choose for this course given the interdisciplinary approach I’m taking, which draws as much from social psychology and behavioral economics as from law.  For those of you playing along at home, here is my tentative course outline.

The readings refer to:

Susan R. Martyn & Lawrence J. Fox, Traversing the Ethical Minefield: Problems, Law, and Professional Responsibility (Aspen, 2d ed. 2008).

Richard L. Abel, Lawyers in the Dock: Learning from Attorney Disciplinary Proceedings (Oxford, 2008).

Carol Tavris & Elliot Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts (Harcourt, 2007).

Date Assignments Presenters
9/13
  • Martyn & Fox
    • Chapter 1: Lawyers, Role, & Law
    • Chapter 2: Judicial and Professional Regulation of Lawyers
  • Abel, Chapter 1
  • Tavris & Aronson, Introduction
9/20
  • Martyn & Fox
    • Chapter 3: Beginning the Lawyer-Client Relationship
    • Chapter 4: Control & Communication
  • Abel, Chapter 3
  • Tavris & Aronson, Chapter 3
9/27
  • Martyn & Fox, Chapter 5: Competence
  • Abel, Chapter 2
9/29 Monday schedule on Wednesday 9/29 to make up for Labor Day

  • Martyn & Fox, Chapter 6: Confidentiality
10/4 No class: Fall Break
10/11
  • Martyn & Fox, Chapter 7: Confidentiality Exceptions
  • Milton C. Regan, Jr., Moral Intuitions and Organizational Culture, 51 St. Louis U.L.J. 941 (2007).
10/18
  • Martyn & Fox, Chapter 8: Conflicts of Interest–Clients, Lawyers, & Third Persons
  • Rhoda Feinberg and James Tom Greene, Transference and Countertransference Issues in Professional Relationships, 29 Fam. L.Q. 111 (1995).
10/25
  • Martyn & Fox, Chapter 9: Conflicts of Interest: Multiple Clients, pp. 333-379
11/1
  • Martyn & Fox, Chapter 9: Conflicts of Interest: Multiple Clients, pp. 379-397
  • Alafair Burke, Neutralizing Cognitive Bias: An Invitation to Prosecutors, 2 N.Y.U.J. of L. & Liberty 512 (2007).
  • Tavris & Aronson, Chapter 5
11/8
  • Martyn & Fox
    • Chapter 10: Fees and Client Property
    • Chapter 11: Ending the Client-Lawyer Relationship
  • Abel, Chapter 5
11/15
  • Martyn & Fox, Chapter 12: The Bounds of the Law
  • Abel, Chapter 6
11/22 No class; students do selected CALI exercises
11/29
  • Martyn & Fox
    • Chapter 13: Self-Regulation
    • Chapter 14: Being a Lawyer
  • Steven C. Bennett, Ethics of Lawyer Social Networking, 73 Alb. L. Rev. 113 (2009).

I’m also thinking of blogging some of my course notes and classroom discussions.  It feels a bit risky to expose my thinking in this way on a course I’ve never taught before, but other professors and lawyers might be interested in student reactions, or even in adding their own comments as the course proceeds.

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