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Professional Responsibility/Legal Ethics
Quinnipiac University School of Law
Lee, Thomas

LAWYER’S PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
 
I.      REGULATION OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION
a.     Introduction
                                            i.      Values of Our Legal System
1.      The values of our legal system pull lawyers in opposite directions. Thus, it is not easy to merely do the ethical thing.
a.Truth
b.      Justice
c.Confidentiality
d.      Zealous Representation
e.Adversary System
f. Client Autonomy
2.      Confidentiality and Zealous Representation Inherently Conflict.
                                          ii.      History of the Rules of Professional Responsibility
1.      1908: ABA enacted Canons of Professional Responsibility
2.      1969: ABA enacted Model Code (ethical considerations & disciplinary rules).
3.      1983: ABA enacted the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
4.      Model Rules become binding upon lawyers when a State’s Supreme Court adopts them.
5.      The ALI has also been working on their own model rules of professional responsibility: Restatement, 3rd, The Law Governing Lawyers
6.      Other Sources of Professional Responsibility Law:
a.Cases (lawyers who have been disciplined may appeal).
b.      Ethics Opinions (published by state and local bar associations).
b.     Character and Fitness in Admission to the Bar
PROBLEM 1: Client, a law student, came to you for help. The school accused him of cheating, which he admitted to you, but denied to the school. The Dean of the school agreed to let the student graduate with his class, take a failing grade for the class, and agreed not to disclose the information to the bar examining committee. The student also told you he had changed his name because of a previous marijuana conviction under his former name.
                                            i.      Bar applicants must be of “good moral character.” What does this mean?
1.      Florida Bd. of Bar Examiners Re J.E.G.R.: Applicant who had deserted his army troop not fit for admission to bar; need to restore citizenship before applying.
2.      Matter of Pragger: Despite rehabilitating himself, applicant who had 20 years earlier fled the jurisdiction to avoid prosecution not fit for admission to bar.
Model Rule 8.1: Bar Admission & Disciplinary Matters
An applicant for admission to the bar, or a lawyer in connection with a bar admission application or in connection with a disciplinary matter, shall not:
(a) knowingly make a false statement of material fact; or
(b) fail to disclose a fact necessary to correct a misapprehension known by the person to have arisen in the matter, or knowingly fail to respond to a lawful demand for information from an admissions or disciplinary authority, except that this rule does not require disclosure of information otherwise protected by Rule 1.6.
Model Rule 8.4: Misconduct
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
(a) violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;
(b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects; (ex. embezzlement)
(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;
(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;
(e) state or imply and ability to influence improperly a governme

gien: Applicant who disclosed plagiarism was admitted since he was honest and showed remorse and had accepted a failing grade for his conduct.
4.      Application of Taylor: Despite charge being dismissed, applicant denied admission after disclosing that she lied to the police (too candid!).
5.      Application questions about mental illness should be specific, and targeted to the applicant’s behavior, conduct, or any current impairment of the applicant’s ability to practice law.
                                        iii.      What Are Other Lawyers Obligations to the Bar Authorities in Connection With an Applicant’s Application?
1.      Zielinski v. Schmalbeck: Dean of school not subject to civil liability for disclosing suspected sexual harassment incident of student to bar.
2.      Rothman v. Emory University: Reports submitted to the bar examining committee will not be denied based on an applicant’s disability (e.g., epilepsy).
                                        iv.      Must Applicants Graduate from an ABA-accredited Law School?
1.      Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, Inc. v. ABA: The ABA has the right to limit admission to applicants who graduated from ABA-accredited law schools (however, this suit prompted the ABA to allow admission to applicants who attended any law school).
“The Disabled Lawyer and the Problem of Neglect”