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Author Topic: Professional Conduct, Responsibility & Ethics  (Read 865 times)

Wild Jack Maverick

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Professional Conduct, Responsibility & Ethics
« on: August 13, 2005, 02:29:52 PM »
I realize that most law schools' required courses include the study of Professional Conduct and Responsibility, but how many law students actually believe that ethics is an important role of lawyer practice?
How many students believe that they will still think that way after 5, 10 or more years of practice?
"I enjoy being in school. I've learned so much already, with taking economics and law, and I have marketing and statistics coming up next."

lawgirl

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Re: Professional Conduct, Responsibility & Ethics
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2005, 03:31:27 PM »
I realize that most law schools' required courses include the study of Professional Conduct and Responsibility, but how many law students actually believe that ethics is an important role of lawyer practice?
How many students believe that they will still think that way after 5, 10 or more years of practice?

I think you have to continue to think that way if you want to continue practicing law.

dkast

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Re: Professional Conduct, Responsibility & Ethics
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2005, 04:26:12 PM »
I believe that ethics should be a part of your everyday existence whether you're an attorney or not.

Ethics is a fundemental principle which at the foundation of the law.  I dont see how ethics would play a role in law that differs from ethical considerations in everyday life.

The law is there to uphold ethics and when applying the fact situation of your clients case, ethics are invariable present within the law.


rapunzel

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Re: Professional Conduct, Responsibility & Ethics
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2005, 07:47:24 PM »
So Wild Jack, I'd assume that your presumption is that lawyers won't play by the ethical rules they have been taught.  Perhaps you posit that an ethic of winning at any cost will naturally take over.  I suppose there is a risk of that.  But then that makes an ethics course all the more important in law school, doesn't it?

Each person in a legal dispute deserves a zealous and knowledable advocate for their side.  Each side will do its best to shape the law favorably, constrained by certain hard and fast rules of ethics.  To try and bend those rules defeats the very purpose of the endeavor which is to hold everyone to some objective standard of law.  There is a time to go for the jugular when the law can reasonably be shaped to allow this.  But there is also a time to look a client in the eye and say, yes, well maybe we could try to get away with this, but just because we can does not mean that we should.     

Wild Jack Maverick

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Re: Professional Conduct, Responsibility & Ethics
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2005, 07:51:37 PM »
I believe that ethics should be a part of your everyday existence whether you're an attorney or not.

Ethics is a fundemental principle which at the foundation of the law.  I dont see how ethics would play a role in law that differs from ethical considerations in everyday life.

The law is there to uphold ethics and when applying the fact situation of your clients case, ethics are invariable present within the law.



I guess I was not referring as much to everyday ethics, but as to the professional conduct and responsibilities established by the ABA--which are different than those of other professionals. I think it is rather interesting that it seems people think they are all playing the same game, but different players have different sets of rules by which they must abide.

"I enjoy being in school. I've learned so much already, with taking economics and law, and I have marketing and statistics coming up next."

Wild Jack Maverick

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Re: Professional Conduct, Responsibility & Ethics
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2005, 08:21:01 PM »
So Wild Jack, I'd assume that your presumption is that lawyers won't play by the ethical rules they have been taught.  Perhaps you posit that an ethic of winning at any cost will naturally take over.  I suppose there is a risk of that.  But then that makes an ethics course all the more important in law school, doesn't it?

Each person in a legal dispute deserves a zealous and knowledable advocate for their side.  Each side will do its best to shape the law favorably, constrained by certain hard and fast rules of ethics.  To try and bend those rules defeats the very purpose of the endeavor which is to hold everyone to some objective standard of law.  There is a time to go for the jugular when the law can reasonably be shaped to allow this.  But there is also a time to look a client in the eye and say, yes, well maybe we could try to get away with this, but just because we can does not mean that we should.     

I am asking because I have recently seen some of the extremes which a lawyer and client will go to in an effort to win. However, a lawyer must also protect his/her own ass, because the client is usually considering no one but his/her self. And that is why the lawyer should abide by the Rules of Conduct and Responsibility.

I am of the opinion that laws exist as a means of protection. If there is a law, rule or regulation, there is also usually a reason.
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Shardik

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Re: Professional Conduct, Responsibility & Ethics
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2005, 01:42:39 AM »
I think you have to continue to think that way if you want to continue practicing law.

LOL  ;D

Janna116

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Re: Professional Conduct, Responsibility & Ethics
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2005, 03:30:14 AM »
Wild Jack:

First I'm going to assume that you are a law student or law school graduate as you are in the students and graduates forum.  In which case I'd like to remind you that regardless of your idea of the professional ethics of lawyers you will have to take or will have already taken The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) which is required for admission to the bars of all but three US jurisdictions.  This is an exam which tests the taker's knowledge of the proffesional ethical standards to which lawyers are held. 

As the allmighty keepers of the law and all things related to law, lawyers are unfairly held to higher standards than other professions, because of some sort of "you should have known better, you know the law" reasoning.  This is ridiculous as it implies tht the embezzeling businessman or armed robber might not have known better simply because they didn't spend three years in law school.  Lawyers are as fallable as the guy in the next profession but it is unfair to characterize all lawyers or future lawyers as unethical or uncaring. 

As far as working for clients.  It is a lawyer's job to represent his client to the best of his abilities.  As long as the client is not demanding that the lawyer break the law then the lawyer should be a zeolous advocate.  It sounds like you might have more of an issue with the questionable ethics of clients and the professional requirements that lawyers have to represent their client's wishes. 

Do you think that the "extremes" you witnessed represented a reufsal to abide by the Rules of Conduct and Responsibility of that state?

Jen


It is never too late to be what you might have been. - George Eliot

Wild Jack Maverick

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Re: Professional Conduct, Responsibility & Ethics
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2005, 07:32:38 AM »
Wild Jack:

First I'm going to assume that you are a law student or law school graduate as you are in the students and graduates forum.  In which case I'd like to remind you that regardless of your idea of the professional ethics of lawyers you will have to take or will have already taken The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) which is required for admission to the bars of all but three US jurisdictions.  This is an exam which tests the taker's knowledge of the proffesional ethical standards to which lawyers are held. 

As the allmighty keepers of the law and all things related to law, lawyers are unfairly held to higher standards than other professions, because of some sort of "you should have known better, you know the law" reasoning.  This is ridiculous as it implies tht the embezzeling businessman or armed robber might not have known better simply because they didn't spend three years in law school.  Lawyers are as fallable as the guy in the next profession but it is unfair to characterize all lawyers or future lawyers as unethical or uncaring. 

As far as working for clients.  It is a lawyer's job to represent his client to the best of his abilities.  As long as the client is not demanding that the lawyer break the law then the lawyer should be a zeolous advocate.  It sounds like you might have more of an issue with the questionable ethics of clients and the professional requirements that lawyers have to represent their client's wishes.

Do you think that the "extremes" you witnessed represented a reufsal to abide by the Rules of Conduct and Responsibility of that state?

Jen


Jen, the 'you should have known better' theory is actually what I am talking about. Lawyers' clients don't only include bank robbers and embezzlers who might be only too happy about receiving advice about how to commit a crime. Lawyers' clients also include people of limited capacity who wouldn't know if a crime was being perpetrated against them.

And yes, a lawyer should know better simply because of the law education and position of fiduciary.
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Janna116

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Re: Professional Conduct, Responsibility & Ethics
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2005, 07:48:49 PM »
Wild Jack:

First I'm going to assume that you are a law student or law school graduate as you are in the students and graduates forum.  

As far as working for clients.  It is a lawyer's job to represent his client to the best of his abilities.  As long as the client is not demanding that the lawyer break the law then the lawyer should be a zeolous advocate.  It sounds like you might have more of an issue with the questionable ethics of clients and the professional requirements that lawyers have to represent their client's wishes.

Do you think that the "extremes" you witnessed represented a reufsal to abide by the Rules of Conduct and Responsibility of that state?

Jen


Jen, the 'you should have known better' theory is actually what I am talking about. Lawyers' clients don't only include bank robbers and embezzlers who might be only too happy about receiving advice about how to commit a crime. Lawyers' clients also include people of limited capacity who wouldn't know if a crime was being perpetrated against them.

And yes, a lawyer should know better simply because of the law education and position of fiduciary.


No, that is not what I said, I meant that if a lawyer commits a crime then they should not be held to different standards than any other criminal, not that their clients are embezzelers and bank robbers and that they are helping them commit crimes.  Simply existing as a member of society should teach us proper ethical standards and social mores.  Someone who attended law school for three years should not be treated differently than someone who didn't.  Law school or not a crime's a crime and I didn't need a semester of Criminal law to learn how to behave. 

I don't know what you were doing recently or where you were but if you think that you witnessed attorneys giving "advice about how to commit a crime" and "taking advantage of people of limited capacity" and "perpetrating [a crime] against them." I would report that to the state bar.  Lawyers need to keep the best interest of their clients needs in mind and aiding them in the commital of criminal acts or actually commiting crimes against their clients is obviously not acting in the best interest of their clients or their job. 

It sounds like you have had a terrible experience in dealing with attorneys and I am sure that there are bad apples in every profession.  I don't think that you have spent any meaningful time with honest and hardworking attorneys or you wouldn't have such a terrible opinion of the profession as a whole.

Jen



It is never too late to be what you might have been. - George Eliot