Professional Ethics Program

As classes began in 2008, we inaugurated our new Ethics Program. Our Associate Dean, David Zarfes, has worked with many experienced practitioners to develop a case-based Ethics seminar. Eventually, we hope this will be the model for multiple sections of such a course. The seminar is built around the idea that ethical problems might be best taught when viewed, at least in part, from the vantage point of the client. We began by asking graduates who had served as general counsel to share with us some of the cases they had encountered in which the lawyer’s role was troubling or provocative in light of the rules of professional responsibility and the larger ethical questions we all face. 

Legal Professions: Shades of Gray

The practice of law is becoming an increasingly risky profession.  More and more, the conduct of attorneys is coming under scrutiny by the opposing party, the client, and the Courts.  There is also an emerging view that lawyers have duties not just to their clients but to the broader public.

This seminar, which satisfies the professional responsibility requirement, addresses the legal and ethical issues facing attorneys in practice.  Through examination of a series of "shades of gray" case studies gathered from leading law firms and corporate legal departments expressly for this purpose, we will explore the challenges, consequences, and "politics" associated with the ethical practice of law in a variety of different contexts and settings, and the relationship between professional ethics and ordinary morality.

General counsel and senior practitioners from leading law firms will join Dean Zarfes as lecturers to teach various sections of the seminar.

We are grateful to have as members of the Ethics and Corporate Governance Planning Committee the following practitioners: