• As an Emory law student under the supervision of
Georgia attorneys, you are subject to the Georgia
Rules of Professional Conduct, as if you were an
attorney. Read them!
• If you’ve had Legal Profession: not all Georgia
rules are the same as ABA Model Rules.
• Remember that may demand
more than the rules require.
• If you are ever unsure, ask me, Jim Elliott, or your
Legal Profession professor.
The Three Cs
You cannot share nonpublic information outside the zone of the attorney-client relationship.
• …feel free to describe anything that has been
disclosed publicly, e.g., courtroom testimony, publicly
filed documents, press releases, without revealing
internal details about it.
• …treat me as though I could be an opposing party.
• …use care in discussing cases in places where you
can be overheard, including at the law school.
• …ask your supervisor what information can be
shared with me or class members.
• …conclude you can’t talk about your work at all.
• “Editing” conversation about your work is a professional skill
that attorneys use every day. You need to learn it now.
• There is always something that you can say, at some level
• …assume it’s ok to tell me confidential information
because I’m the professor.
• …disclose information if you have any uncertainty
about whether it’s confidential.
• It’s always better to ask. Or, find a way to say it without
disclosing that detail.
Conflicts of Interest
• You are treated as an attorney for each organization where you’ve
worked, for conflict-of-interest purposes.
• You should go through the same conflicts-checking process as attorneys
when you start.
• Any prior legal work, whether as a volunteer or for pay, could create a
conflict in your subsequent employment.
• You can usually still work at the subsequent organization even where
there is a conflict, so long as you don’t have an ongoing relationship with
the prior organization, but the conflict needs to be disclosed and
• It is most important for you to disclose all possible conflicts; the
organization will help you understand what (if anything) to do about it.
• Conflicts are a common issue in legal organizations, and rarely create
any undue burden for the organization.
• Don’t let fear of the consequences of the conflict cause you to hesitate to
• The consequences are far worse if you were aware of a potential conflict
that you did not disclose.
Externships should push you a little bit – but not too far – out of
your comfort zone.
• You are responsible for letting the supervisor know if an
assignment is beyond your capability, or if you need more
• There is an Assignment Questions Checklist available on
• The supervisor is responsible for:
• Reformulating an assignment if you have told him/her it is beyond
your ability, and
• Providing adequate supervision, including answering your
requests for guidance, and reviewing your work to ensure it
Unauthorized Practice of Law
• It is a crime to provide legal services without being a
member of the Bar.
• “Providing legal services” includes not only speaking on behalf of
individuals in legal proceedings, but also giving legal advice.
• In order to communicate any legal advice to a client, you must first
discuss with your supervisor and agree what you will tell the client.
• You should not answer any client questions that go beyond that
advice; questions should be taken back to your supervisor.
• Third-year practice certification is an exception to the ban on
UPL, but not a complete exception.
• 3YP students may represent parties in court, but an attorney must
be physically present at all times. (Let me know if this doesn’t
• Attorneys must still supervise and review student work.
• 3YP students may give legal advice, but most placements will still
want you to discuss the advice with them first.