Professional Responsibility - 2231

Professional Responsibility
Class Term:
Fall Term 2022-2023
Catalog Number:


3 (3 Contact, 0 Field)
Graduation Requirements:
Legal Profession
General Enrollment Course
Full Year Course:
Standard Courses

Additional Information

In this class we will explore both large philosophical questions and nitty gritty problems that arise in a lawyer’s working life. We will look at diverse and conflicting views of the role of lawyers in society and consider a wide range of questions. What does it mean to be a member of a profession? What does it mean to “represent” a client? What if your client is a corporation? Do lawyers have a responsibility to promote social justice? What limits are there, if any, on a lawyer’s duty to advise clients engaged in conduct that may be dangerous to others? What should you do if you know another lawyer is breaking the law? Suppose you suspect that your client has lied in court? Do you ever have the duty to tell a client her actions are morally wrong? The right to tell her so? What, if any, are the special roles and duties of a government lawyer? Are lawyers expected to be more or less honest than everyone else? How do the economic realities of access to legal representation affect legal ethics? How should they?

Grading Details

Final grades will be based primarily on an open-book, in-class final examination. Consideration will also be given to the quality of students’ participation in class discussions.


This course will cover selected topics on the law governing lawyers. Major topics will include formation and termination of the attorney-client relationship and its attendant obligations, fee issues, conflicts of interest, ethics in advocacy, transactional lawyering, and entity representations, among others. The course will cover these topics from the vantage point of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers, as well as those aspects of Constitutional law, evidence law, agency law, tort law, and procedural rules (both civil and criminal) that bear on an attorney’s obligations to clients, courts, opposing parties and their attorneys, and the legal system at large. Class discussions will incorporate in-depth analysis of case law and the Rules, as well as analysis of practical hypothetical scenarios in which a lawyer seeks advice about his or her legal and ethical options for moving forward in dealing with his or her clients. This course meets the New York professional responsibility requirement. N.Y. Court Rules for Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law Rule 520.3(c)(1)(iii).

This course has been flagged as a distance education course. This means this class is one in which students are separated from the faculty member or each other (other than specially accommodated students) for more than one-third of the instruction and the instruction involves the use of technology to support regular and substantive interaction among students and between the students and the faculty member, either synchronously or asynchronously.

This course is held on a specific day, at a specific time, on Zoom or using some other remote technology. The class never meets in person.

Professional Responsibility