Briefly: what matters most in legal ethics?

Lawyers – what if you had to choose between competing duties?  What would happen to the juducial system?  Or to the profession’s standing in the public eye? If forced to choose among the rules & concepts that have advanced to the Sweet 16, of the Professional Responsibility & Legal Ethics Bracket, which are more important?

I’ve tried to distill each remaining rule/concept down to a single thought.

To vote – go here.  The original bracket is here (image only).

Duties to Non-Clients

Semi-Final 1: Candor to a Tribunal vs. Dealing with the Unrepresented Person.

  • The integrity of the system requires that judges not be misled by false evidence.
  • The integrity of the system requires that unrepresented persons not be misled into thinking that another’s lawyer is looking out for their interests.

Semi-Final 2: Mandatory Reporting vs. Social Media: Looking, Friending, Scrubbing.

  • The privilege of self-regulation includes a responsibility to report misconduct.
  • Evidence must not be unfairly located, obtained, concealed, or destroyed.

Conflicts & Confidences

Semi-Final 1: Withdrawal from Representation vs. Screening/Imputation.

  • Competence includes conflict-free representation.
  • Fairness includes strict measures to prevent improper sharing of confidential information.

Semi-Final 2: Same or Substantially Related? vs. ESI: reasonable precautions.

  • A lawyer cannot switch sides.
  • No matter where it’s stored or the form in which it’s stored, client information must be protected.

Trust Accounts, Fees, Duties to Clients

Semi-Final 1: Who decides? Client or Lawyer? vs. Trust Accounting/Bookkeeping.

  • The client chooses the destination, the lawyer the route.
  • In you they trust: keep track of their money.

Semi-Final 2: Commingling v. Tech Competence.

  • In you they trust: theirs is not yours.
  • It’s 2020.

My Cousin Vinny

Semi-Final 1:  Were these MAGIC grits? vs. Everything that guy just said is B.S. Thank you.

  • On cross, know your facts.
  • As FDR said, “be sincere, be brief, be seated.”

Semi-Final 2: The Defense is WRONG! v. Did you say yutes?

  • Competence includes realizing when your theory of the case no longer holds water.
  • Yes, and I get scared running across bridges high over mouzes of rivers.

Again, to vote – go here.

Ethical Responsibilities | Bollinger Shipyards


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