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Legal Ethics

Ethics CLE Teleforum -- 2016: Recent Developments Impacting the Ethical Practice of Law

Professional Responsibility & Legal Education Practice Group Teleforum Thursday, September 15, 01:55 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

The Federalist Society offers a unique opportunity to acquire one hour’s worth of ethics CLE credit.

Our panel of three experts in legal and judicial ethics will discuss several recent cases and regulatory developments in the field, with an eye to translating these developments into practical wisdom about their likely impact on law practice in 2016 and beyond.

Topics will include the American Bar Association's move to expand the scope of the regulation of race, gender and other harassment and discrimination into the practice of law generally, including law firm management; amendments to the rules of discovery to help reduce the gamesmanship now often infecting the process; the extent to which the Supreme Court's decision in the North Carolina Dentists case may foreshadow limitations on the ability of states to regulate the practice of law without running afoul of the antitrust laws; whether competent legal advice must include a business advice component in certain settings; and how the use of social media to complain about a sitting judge can cross the line into unethical conduct.

Featuring:

  • Prof. W. William Hodes, Professor Emeritus of Law, Indiana University & President, The William Hodes Professional Corporation
  • Prof. Thomas D. Morgan, Oppenheim Professor Emeritus of Antitrust and Trade Regulation Law, George Washington University Law School
  • Prof. Ronald Rotunda, Doy & Dee Henley Chair and Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence, Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Limits on Settlements - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
David Min, Paul J. Larkin July 20, 2016

On June 10, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, Orrin Hatch, James Lankford, and Mike Lee introduced the Stop Settlements Slush Fund Act. The Act would prohibit the Department of Justice from enforcing settlements that allow parties to give money to outside parties chosen by the administration instead of the Treasury. Many of these outside parties have been non-profits that Congress had recently removed from federal funding.

Featuring:

  • Paul J. Larkin Jr., Senior Legal Research Fellow, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, The Heritage Foundation
  • Prof. David Min, Assistant Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law

Judicial Recusal Required: Williams v. Pennsylvania Decided - Podcast

Professional Responsibility & Legal Education Practice Group Podcast
John J. Park, Jr. June 14, 2016

On June 9, the Supreme Court issued its decision on Williams v. Pennsylvania, a case which confronted whether or not a state supreme court justice had violated the Due Process Clause when he refused to recuse himself from a capital punishment case. The justice made the initial decision to seek the death penalty and had also defended the decision on appeal while in his office as prosecutor before his appointment to the bench. The Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, asserting that the refusal to recuse was a violation of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Featuring:

  • John J. Park, Jr., Of Counsel, Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP

Speech Code for Lawyers? - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law, Litigation, and Professional Responsibilities & Legal Education Practice Groups Podcast
Eugene Volokh June 06, 2016

The American Bar Association (ABA) model rules of conduct have long wrestled with regulating the intersection of discrimination and the law of lawyering. The current model rules forbid discrimination in the practice of law only as a comment to the prohibition on lawyer conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. After much discussion and pressure, the ABA has proposed expanding the language to become new model rule 8.4 (g). If enacted, this rule would prohibit (in its own right) discrimination or harassment by a lawyer engaged in the practice of law against a list of protected classes, including ethnicity, gender identity, and marital status. Perhaps anticipating a challenge, the new rule's comment states that the new rule does not apply to non-lawyer conduct or activities protected by the first amendment and also exempts times when references to such protected groups and facts are needed to effectively represent a client. However, this new rule would apply to all conduct at primarily firm and legal events, including firm related social events.

What is discrimination or harassment over socioeconomic status? Since this rule applies to social settings, where is the line to be drawn and what chilling effect might be created? What about free speech and free association?

Featuring:

  • Prof. Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

Supreme Court to Consider Honest-Services Fraud: Robert F. McDonnell v. United States - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Brian D. Boone, Randall D. Eliason, William J. Haun February 10, 2016

On January 15, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Robert F. McDonnell v. United States. The Court will review the public corruption convictions of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to determine whether the definition of “official action” as used in the federal bribery statute, Hobbs Act, and honest-services fraud statute is limited to exercising actual governmental power or the threat or pressure to do so. If the definition is not so limited, the Court will also consider whether the Hobbs Act and honest-services fraud statute are unconstitutional—given that such a broad definition could include political activity protected by the First Amendment. This Teleforum will allow experts who have been involved in amicus briefs and analyzing the case to debate the positions articulated by Governor McDonnell and the U.S. Government as to the "official act" question.

Featuring:

  • Brian D. Boone, Alston & Bird LLP
  • Prof. Randall D. Eliason, George Washington University Law School
  • Moderator: William J. Haun, Hunton & Williams LLP