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LAW Malpractice: How Lawyers and Clients Behave Badly

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LAW 385

Malpractice: How Lawyers and Clients Behave Badly

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Recommended for route(s):

[ Litigation ] [ Regulatory & Policy ] [ Transactional ] Intellectual Property: Patent Law

Why it is relevant for ...

[ Litigation ] [ Regulatory & Policy ] [ Transactional ] as a Related Elective for those interested in Ethics : A clear understanding of the regulation of the legal profession and its rules of conduct is essential for every lawyer. This course considers legal ethics from a practical standpoint. How do attorneys get into these situations and what could we do as a profession to serve our clients better?

General course Description:

"Malpractice" is a word that conceals, or at least comprises, a multitude of sins. It is used loosely to refer to a wide array of professional misconduct, spanning many different wrongs, rights and remedies. This course considers the many ways in which lawyers find themselves accused of behaving badly. Graduate, business and professional students in addition to law students are specifically invited to participate, as the managerial, organizational behavioral, ethical and public policy perspectives of the people and institutions lawyers serve, and perspectives on how they might be served better, are integral to course readings and discussion.

Discussion includes disputes regarding performance in the task at hand (failures of care or competence), disputes regarding conventional conflicts of interest (failures to reconcile competing demands among clients or between client and attorney), and disputes involving more complex clashes in values (conflicts between what is legally permitted or required, and considerations of conscience, justice or the welfare of others outside the attorney-client relationship). Examples range from ordinary errors, omissions and conflicts of interest to large-scale organizational misbehavior, such as the government-conducted torture authorized by the White House Office of Legal Counsel's post-9/11 opinions, and recent private-sector frauds and disasters.

In each context, the class explores the practical forces that lead to and flow from the interplay among the interests of the various constituencies lawyers are, in one way or another, allowed or expected to serve-themselves; their clients; those connected with clients (such as managers, employees, investors and customers); the greater community or society at large-with special focus on the clients and others to whom counsel directly or indirectly answer, and how the rules governing professional conduct influence clients' organization and behavior.

Course Style: A Substantive course teaches the law, theory, and policy in a particular area of law

Course Frequency: Varied, check w/ registrar

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