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Dynamic forces of change, led by globalization and technology, are forcing the legal profession to adapt to a far different future, whether it wants to or not. A bar leader and prominent advocate of thoughtful adaptation to a radically transformed practice landscape urges the profession to start a meaningful dialogue on change now, or risk losing control of the future and the right to self-regulate. For starters, the author urges revisiting the issue of non-lawyer ownership of law firms.
The long-time Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, now in private practice, reflects on the unique role of a government’s chief legal officer, who operates at the confluence of often conflicting parties and forces, but must remain clear that his duty is to his client – the represented government entity. Mr. Cardozo takes issue with those who urge that a government lawyer should always act in the broader public interest, even when that course deviates from the best interests of the lawyer’s public entity client.
Groundbreaking research on the relationship between character and fitness disclosures during the bar admission process and subsequent lawyer discipline history suggests that a fresh look at the value of intrusive C&F disclosure requirements is warranted, in light of new evidence that disclosures have little, if any, predictive value in terms of lawyer discipline.
A wave of recent judicial ethics opinions from the states and the ABA offers direction on navigating the ethical minefield of social media use by judges. The author, an ethics professor, surveys opinions on point and argues that although they provide helpful guidance on a number of issues, they fall short in terms of providing clarity on the critical issue of whether judges may “friend” lawyers who may appear before them, and if so the extent of any disclosure obligation to other parties in litigation involving the social media “friend.”
The writer, an ethics instructor and retired judge, sees a conspicuous and indefensible gap in the model ethics rules: the rules speak at length to a lawyer’s duty of candor to the court and to other parties, and even of a limited duty of candor to clients, but nowhere do they codify a duty of complete candor to the client – the party that commands counsel’s utmost loyalty. The writer urges closing that gap once and for all, with a model rule dedicated to the duty of candor to a client.
One corporation’s exemplary guidance document for outside counsel places restored emphasis on the primacy of a lawyer’s duty of loyalty to a client in connection with conflict waivers and all aspects of the relationship. Unstated, in the author’s view, is how little client loyalty seems to matter to many firms these days, with only sophisticated, powerful clients able to demand unfettered loyalty, and having to spell it out as an express term of engagement. Client loyalty should be a given, not a contract term, maintains the author, a litigator and ethics authority.
The Center’s late leader is honored with the 2014 Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award for an exemplary career of passionate dedication and unmatched attainment in the field of lawyer professional responsibility. Testimonials speak to Jeanne’s inspiring combination of personal warmth, rare acumen, and determined leadership of the ethical transformation of the legal profession. Presentation remarks by ABA Treasurer Lucian Pera recount Jeanne’s role as the driving force behind to the Center’s emergence as the ethical voice of the profession, and the national source of model ethics rules and opinions. Acceptance remarks by lawyer Brett Gallagher, Jeanne’s daughter, share the human dimension of her remarkable mother.