The professional standards of ethical legal practice were unchanged and unchanging for centuries. Beginning in 1908, however, assumptions and principles not only evolved, but did so at an accelerating rate. Almost 60 years passed between the ABA’s first Canons in 1908 to its Code of Professional Responsibility. It was only two decades before the Code was overhauled by the ABA Rules and less than that before the Rules themselves were reconfigured in 2003.
Then the rate of change became obvious to all, when the ABA waited less than a year before revising the new confidentiality and organization representation rules to come closer to the new Sarbanes-Oxley model. More significant changes have followed, involving conflicts and prosecutor duties among other issues, all driven by events that exposed holes and loopholes in the legal ethics model. And it was just the beginning.
Now it appears that legal ethics are due for another substantive makeover, with a dizzying number of changes on the way. Ethics Evolution and the Virtuous Lawyer is a new three-hour legal ethics CLE seminar that will fulfill three credit hours while exploring these changes —actual, looming, proposed, and possible— examining how to approach them with the current rules, and doing so using interactive hypotheticals, lively discussion, and a variety of tools and resources.
What are the forces driving these changes? Which legal ethics standards are evolving, and how do practicing attorneys respond to new dynamics while the rules and rule makers are struggling to keep up?
Among the legal ethics issues covered:
- Jurisdiction evolution: dealing with conflicting ethical standards and rules among jurisdictions
- Is the expectation of privacy a myth? How should lawyers adapt, and what do they tell their clients?
- New conflicts concepts, and how they are evolving
- Obscure rules that still have teeth
- How technology is changing legal ethics whether we like it or not
- Integrity evolution: thinking about ethics violations that will never be discovered, or never punished if they are
- Enforcement evolution: current events driving legal ethics priorities
- The uses and misuses of “the appearance of impropriety”
- Ethics dilemmas not covered by the rules
… And much more
This fast-moving, diverse, and challenging seminar will prove both practical and entertaining for all participants. Its author and facilitator is Jack Marshall, a Massachusetts and D.C. attorney, and the president of ProEthics, a national professional ethics training and consulting firm based in Alexandria, Virginia.