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October 21, 2020 Modern Law Library

Knowing when to tell your client no and other ethical dilemmas

By Lee Rawles

One of the most important ethical obligations a lawyer has is knowing when to tell their client no. But how do you know when that moment has come, and how do you deal with it?

For legal ethics experts Lawrence J. Fox and Susan R. Martyn, teaching their fellow attorneys how to cope with the dilemmas that they may run into at their practices has been a passion for years.

It’s also behind their seventh book together, the recently released Fair Fight: Legal Ethics for Litigators. Told in a storytelling format, the book strives to be a reference manual that is also a good read. Fair Fight walks its readers through every step of the litigation process, from recruiting clients—or understanding when you’ve acquired a client—to a sentencing or settlement.

In this new episode of the Modern Law Library podcast, Fox and Martyn walk the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles through “the six Cs” of legal ethics, discuss the writing process that’s made their longtime partnership work, and share their advice for what lawyers most need to keep in mind to meet their ethical duties during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fair Fight is on sale at the ABA web store, and Modern Law Library listeners can buy it at a discount through Dec. 21 by using the code FAIR20 at checkout.

In This Podcast

Lawrence J. Fox

Lawrence J. Fox is a lecturer at Yale Law School, teaching professional responsibility and the Ethics Bureau at Yale, a clinic that provides assistance and counseling on a pro bono basis to nonprofit legal service providers, courts and law schools. Fox formerly was a managing partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath. As a partner at Schoeman Updike Kaufman & Gerber, he now specializes in representing lawyers regarding their professional responsibilities. Fox has taught professional responsibility at Yale, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania law schools. Fox is a former member and chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, a former chair of the ABA Section of Litigation, and a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Susan R. Martyn

Susan R. Martyn is a professor at the University of Toledo College of Law. She teaches legal ethics at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law and is a visiting professor at Yale Law School. She was on the Ohio Supreme Court’s Task Force on the Rules of Professional Conduct. She is a contributor to continuing legal education programs and was a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. She is a life member of the American Law Institute and a fellow in the American Bar Foundation.