John Dean: From Nixon to Trump—Dealing with Difficult Chief Executives and Organization as Client (Online Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 3.0
Ethics Credits Included: 0.0

MCLE Credit: 3.0 (Ethics: 0.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
Price: $189 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 8/31/2020


A pre-recorded streaming video replay from the August 2017 webcast, From Nixon to Trump: Dealing with Difficult Chief Executives and Organization as Client.

Featuring Former Nixon White House Counsel John W. Dean

The Preamble to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Section 6, states: "As a public citizen, a lawyer should seek improvement of the law, access to the legal system, the administration of justice and the quality of service rendered by the legal profession. As a member of a learned profession, a lawyer should cultivate knowledge of the law beyond its use for clients, employ that knowledge in reform of the law and work to strengthen legal education. In addition, a lawyer should further the public's understanding of and confidence in the rule of law and the justice system because legal institutions in a constitutional democracy depend on popular participation and support to maintain their authority."

This program takes its inspiration from Justice David Souter's campaign to emphasize the teaching of civics and the role of lawyers as public citizens.

Topics covered include:

  • Hour One: The first hour explores the role of a lawyer as a public citizen and guardian of the Constitution, with a look generally at Executive Power, Article II. John Dean explains President Nixon’s “smoking gun” tape from June 23, 1972, where Nixon instructs his chief of staff to tell the CIA to inform the FBI that CIA activity may be exposed by the Watergate criminal investigation and so the FBI “should stay the hell out of it.”
  • Hour Two: The second hour explores Article II's nomination and appointment clause for Supreme Court Justices and takes a deep dive into President Nixon's appointment of four justices in his first term: Justices Burger, Blackmun, Powell, and Rehnquist. Two would serve as Chief Justice of the United States (Burger and Rehnquist) and dominate the Court for 36 years. John Dean, as White House Counsel, vetted Supreme Court candidates and wrote the book, The Rehnquist Choice. This segment makes heavy use of the Nixon Tapes. Especially enlightening was Nixon's attempt to put the first woman on the Court.
  • Hour Three: The third hour focuses on the backstory to Roe v. Wade, again in the news as President Trump promised to appoint justices who would overturn Roe. Nixon appointed the justices most responsible for Roe's ultimate outcome — Powell and Blackmun.



John W. Dean

Nixon White House Council / Washington (Expand/Collapse Bio)

Before becoming Counsel to the President of the United States in July 1970 at age thirty-one, John Dean was Chief Minority Counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives, the Associate Director of a law reform commission, and Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States. He served as Richard Nixon’s White House lawyer for a thousand days.

Mr. Dean did his undergraduate studies at Colgate University and the College of Wooster, with majors in English Literature and Political Science. He received a graduate fellowship from American University to study government and the presidency, before entering Georgetown University Law Center, where he received his J.D. in 1965.

Mr. Dean initially recounted his days in the Nixon White House and Watergate in two books, Blind Ambition (1976) and Lost Honor (1982). He recently published The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It (2014), his 12th book (10th since retiring). Mr. Dean lives in Beverly Hills, California, with his wife, Maureen, and now devotes full time to writing and lecturing, having retired from his career as a private investment banker. 

James David Robenalt

Thompson Hine LLP / Washington (Expand/Collapse Bio)

Jim Robenalt is a partner and former Chair of the Business Litigation group at Thompson Hine LLP’s Cleveland office.  Mr. Robenalt is also the author of two nonfiction books dealing with the American presidency: Linking Rings: William W. Durbin and the Magic and Mystery of America (Kent State University Press 2004) and The Harding Affair: Love and Espionage During the Great War (Palgrave 2009).  He is a recognized leader in judicial reform in Ohio.

Mr. Robenalt teaches and instructs on the legal ethics and the representation of an organization under new Model Rules 1.13 and 1.6. Using John Dean as fact witness and Watergate as a case study, he and Mr. Dean have developed an interactive, fast-paced program that explores the duties of an attorney representing an organization when wrongdoing is uncovered.  Rule 1.13 defines “organization” broadly, including corporations, partnerships, unions, governmental entities, and the like.

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