Professional Responsibility Syllabus - 2015

Professional Responsibility Syllabus  (Preliminary*)
Spring 2015                updated December 19, 2014

George W. Conk, Adjunct Professor & Senior Fellow, Stein Center for Law & Ethics, Fordham Law School  

Office: Room 8-122 
Phone: 212-636-7446
Cell: 201-264-1177

Mondays and Wednesdays 12:30 - 1:50, Room 3-01

Required materials:
Casebook: Professional Responsibility,  A Contemporary Approach
Pearce, Capra, Green 
(West – Second Edition)
Interactive casebook: (purchasers of hard copy also receive access to the interactive version)

Supplement: Rules, Standards, Statutes, and Codes: The Law Governing Lawyers, (LGL) Martyn, Fox, Wendel (Wolters Kluwer 2014-205 Edition)


(syllabus, links to resources, etc.)


Four or more students will be assigned to be "on call" for classroom discussions.
Attendance is required.  If you cannot attend class you must send me an email explaining the reason prior to class.
Classroom participation: particularly helpful participation in classroom discussions may support an increase of 1/3 grade (e.g. B+>A-)
Final exam:in-class multiple choice type exam

Writing requirement
If you use the class to satisfy the writing requirement you need not take the final exam - but classroom participation will still be considered in your grade.  

Term paper: if you have elected to write a term paper the topic must be submitted to me for approval.  You need not take the final exam - but classroom participation will still be considered in your grade.

Upperclass writing requirement: 
Notice of intent must be filed with Registrar within two weeks of start of semester (January 26) Topic must be approved by me in advance of filing.

March 2, 5:00 PM - outlines due
March 23, 5:00 PM - rough drafts due
April 24, 5:00 PM - final papers due

Term papers

Term paper topic proposals due:  March 2, 5:00 PM
Outline  or abstract due: March 23, 5:00 PM
Final paper due: April 24

Principal reading will be from the casebook, supplemented by the relevant Rules and Comments in the Supplement.  Page assignments have not yet been selected.
The basic approach should be to read the excerpted cases in the casebook, then read the sample questions.  Much of our discussion will center on the sample MPRE questions in the casebook.

I will make additional assignments of cases and articles beyond the casebook .  As you can see below there are hyperlinks to those materials.


Week 1, class 1
- Course overview, intro and professionalism – first class
Read black letter rules of Model Rules of Professional Conduct

Week 1 class 2
-Defining the practice of law – unauthorized practice.

Week 2

–  Creating and terminating the attorney-client relationship
-          The Duty of Competence, Communication, Allocating Decision-making

Week 3

Ineffective assistance of counsel (criminal defense)

Week 4
-             Finding clients (advertising, solicitation)

 Week 5
-             Confidentiality and Attorney client privilege

Confidentiality under R. 1.6 and the Duty of Corporate Counsel Under Sarbanes Oxley
Final Rule - SEC - 17 CFR 205.1 et seq. Implementation of Standards of Professional Conduct for Attorneys Securities and Exchange Commission

Week 6
Concurrent conflicts (when our clients are in conflict)
Volunteer Lawyers for Justice - NJ Supreme Court (2014)

Week 7
Lawyer-client conflicts of interest 

IIs BP Deepwater Horizon claims administrator Juneau conflicted?
Memorandum in support of motion to remove Juneau

Week 8 Legal malpractice
Lawyers' duties to clients and to third parties

Week 9
Prosecutors ethics

Wrongful convictions

Week 10 – 11 
Attorneys fees

The reasonable fee; regulated fees
Contingent fees
Fee shifting (civil rights, intellectual property)
Judicial control of fees in class action and mass tort cases

Week 11
An independent judiciary? How should we select judges? (Election or appointment)
Judicial ethics – Code of Conduct of U.S. Judges
Ouster of Iowa Justices Sends Message - (NY Times, November 3, 200)
Does the 1st Amendment protect judges' fund-raising appeals? Yulee v. Florida Bar (cert. granted)

Should a judge recuse when a litigant has financially supported his election?  Capertonv. A.T. Massey (2008)

Changing the court: Christie ads. Supreme Court of New Jersey (Torts Today)

Week 12
Lawyers in the public interest (guest speakers - Public Defenders, Prosecutors, Court Attorneys)

Week 13
Mass torts and the problem of consent to settlement
Erichson & Zipursky: Consent v. Closure, 96 Cornell L. Rev. 265 (2011)

Exam: 48 hour take-home (download/upload)
Essay type questions