Part III


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Part III

  1. 1. Basic Ethics (a.k.a. “The Three Cs”)
  2. 2. Starting Points • 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.
  3. 3. The Three Cs • Confidentiality • Conflicts • Competence
  4. 4. Confidentiality You cannot share nonpublic information outside the zone of the attorney-client relationship.
  5. 5. Confidentiality Do’s • DO… • …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.
  6. 6. Confidentiality Don’ts • DON’T… • …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 of generality. • …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.
  7. 7. 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 addressed. • 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 disclose. • The consequences are far worse if you were aware of a potential conflict that you did not disclose.
  8. 8. Competence 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 guidance. • There is an Assignment Questions Checklist available on Blackboard. • 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 seems correct.
  9. 9. Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) • 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 happen.) • 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.