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Legal Profession
St. Louis University School of Law
Rollins, Christine E.

 
Legal Profession
Rollins
Fall 2015
 
 
Chapter 1A – Institutions that Regulate Lawyers
·         The highest state courts
o   Usually the highest court of the state is responsible for adopting the rules of conduct that govern lawyers
§  Court claim authority to regulate lawyers as an aspect of their authority to administer the courts
o   Highest court disciplines lawyers, through disciplinary agencies
o   At least with respect to ethical and procedural rules that govern lawyers, the courts make most of the rules, implement the rules, interpret the rules, enforce the rules, and hear challenges to the validity of those rules
o   Inherent powers doctrine
·         State and Local Bar Associations
o   State bars often administer bar exams and review candidates for admission
·         Lawyer Disciplinary Agencies
o   Bear the responsibility for investigating and prosecuting misconduct that violates the state ethics code
§  Disbarment, suspension, and public or private reprimand
·         American Bar Association
o   Model Rules of Professional Conduct
·         American Law Institute
o   Produce summaries of the law called Restatements
o   Restatement (Third) of the Law Governing Lawyers
·         Federal and State Courts
o   Judge can sanction the lawyer for misconduct directly or report to lawyer disciplinary agency
§  “raises a substantial question regarding the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects”
·         Legislatures
o   Legislations adopt constitutions and statutes that completely affect lawyers
·         Administrative Agencies
o   Many agencies have special ethical or procedural rules
·         Prosecutors
o   Prosecutors may once have been reluctant to charge lawyers as defendants, but any reservations about prosecuting lawyers evaporated in the last quarter of the twentieth century
·         Malpractice Insurers
o   A malpractice insurer may require a law firm that it insures to adopt a system to evaluate potential conflicts of interest, or it may insist that senior partners review all opinion letters that the firm sends to its clients
·         Law firms and other employers
o   Some law firms have an entire ethical infrastructure to provide lawyers and nonlawyers with training, offer expert advice about ethics and liability questions, and prevent conflicts of interest
·         Clients
o   Both governmental and corporate clients have a great deal of bargaining power in dealing with law firms
§  A federal agency, for example, might make a policy prohibiting lawyers form doing “block billing,” in which a lawyer records time worked on a matter in eight-hour blocks without specifying what tasks were performed during each block
 
Chapter 1B – State Ethics Codes
·         The codification of the law governing lawyers in the 1960s marked a major change in the structure and content of the ethical rules
·         ABA committees over the years have made important changes in the ABA Model Rules, and nearly every state has adopted some version of the Model Rules
·         Functions of the state ethics code:
o   (1) to guide lawyers in evaluating what conduct is proper in various situations
o   (2) to provide a basis for disciplining lawyers who violate the rules
·         Many ethical dilemmas are not addressed in the rules, so lawyers should exercise judgment informed by the ethics codes
·         An advisory opinion is not a decision in a case but is written by a bar committee as an interpretation of a code or rule for guidance to lawyers
·         Lawyers can call bar counsel or the bar’s ethics committee for guidance
 
Chapter 1C – Admission to practice
·         Once admitted to the bar of a state, a lawyer must comply with various requirements to maintain admission, which may include:
o   Completion of a certain number of hours of continuing legal education every year
o   Payment of annual dues
o   Membership in a state bar association
o   Compliance with any requirements to maintain or submit records relating to the operation of a law office
·         Once someone is admitted to practice law in a state, he may gain admission in some other state without taking the bar exam
o   Or, maybe admitted pro hac vice by association with a lawyer admitted it he state
 
Rule 8.1 – 8.2
·         8.1 – Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters
·         8.2 – Judicial and Legal Officials
 
Chapter 12C(2) – Restrictions on legal services; Restrictions on nonlawyers
·         There is a debate about the proper role of nonlawyers in the solution of routin

value to a person for recommending the lawyer’s services
·         7.3 – Solicitation of Clients
o   A lawyer shall not by in-person, live telephone or real-time electronic contact solicit professional employment when a significant motive for the lawyer’s doing so is the lawyer’s pecuniary gain, unless the person contacted:
§  Is a lawyer, or
§  Has a family, close personal, or prior professional relationship with the lawyer
·         7.4 – Communication of Fields of Practice and Specialization
o   A lawyer should take care to make sure he is following the rules when saying he is certified or a specialist
 
Chapter 4A – Formation of the lawyer-client relationship
1. Choosing Clients
·         What might make a lawyer not want to take a client:
o   Conflict of interest
o   Lack of expertise
o   Dislikes the prospective client or disagrees with the goal of the representation
·         A lawyer CAN accept legal work that requires knowledge of an area of law in which the lawyer has no experience, if the lawyer compensates for inexperience through study or affiliation with another lawyer
o   Comment 2 to Rule 1.1 – a lawyer can take on a matter in an unfamiliar field if the lawyer has the time and resources to get up to speed
·         A lawyer may be subject to discipline if the lawyer bills the client for spending an unreasonable amount of time on research, so the lawyer should be explicitly clear and come to an agreement with client about the time it takes to “get up to speed”
·         In general, lawyers can decide who they wish to represent
o   Rule 6.1 addresses lawyers’ duty to provide legal assistance to people who are not able to pay for it
§  Aspire to provide at least 50 hours per year of pro bono representation
·         Accepting a fair share of unpopular matters or indigent or unpopular clients