Professional Responsibility: Problems from Practice
J.D. Course 1187
| 3 credit hours
The premise of this course is that studying the legal profession, and particularly its code of ethics, is exciting! May a lawyer rat on her client who is planning to kill someone? Is it permissible for a prosecutor to impersonate a defense lawyer in order to save lives? May a lawyer represent two criminal co-defendants? Must a prosecutor turn in his best friend, a fellow prosecutor who has concealed evidence from a criminal defendant?
In this course, we will read very few judicial opinions. Instead, we will work on about forty ungraded problems, most of which are based on real situations that lawyers faced. Instead of assigning you to read autopsies of cases (that is, appellate opinions), I will provide you with the relevant legal framework (most importantly, the Rules of Professional Conduct) and then ask you to step into the shoes of a lawyer who has to make a critical decision, often caught between conflicting loyalties.
You will be issued a “clicker” through which you can cast an anonymous vote to register what you would do as the problems unfold. Class discussions will explore and evaluate the legal, ethical and strategic justifications for each possible course of action. After the discussion of each problem, I will reveal what happened in the real case.
The course will include a unit on the American Legal Profession: its history, the relative advantages of large-firm, small-firm, and public service practice, and how recent economic developments are changing the both the legal profession and the career opportunities for graduates of Georgetown Law.
The textbook for the course will be Lisa G. Lerman and Philip G. Schrag, ETHICAL PROBLEMS IN THE PRACTICE OF LAW (4th ed. 2016).
This course meets the J.D. Professional Responsibility graduation requirement. This course also satisfies the Professional Responsibility requirement for Public Interest Law Scholars (“PILS”). Students may receive credit for only one offering in the Professional Responsibility series. For a list of the PR series courses, please see the Legal Profession/Professional Responsibility cluster essay. The courses in the PR series are open to only J.D. students.
||Room / Days / From-To
(CRN #: 30686)
||Schrag, Philip G.