Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.

211.2 sec. 001 - Practical Legal Ethics (Spring 2022)

Instructor: Bruce A Budner  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
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Units: 2
Grading Designation: Graded
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


W 6:25 PM - 8:15 PM
Location: Law 145
From January 12, 2022
To April 22, 2022

Course Start: January 12, 2022
Course End: April 22, 2022
Class Number: 31472

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 26
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 28
As of: 07/19 11:58 AM

“Virtually all difficult ethical problems arise from conflict between a lawyer’s responsibilities to clients, to the legal system, and to the lawyer’s own interest in remaining an ethical person while earning a satisfactory living.”
Preamble [9] to ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct

Many of you take this course just to satisfy your PR requirement. You think that legal ethics is a boring subject. Au contraire. Legal ethics is exciting, challenging, and profound. It is required for a very good reason: It is the most important course taught in law schools. At its essence it is about what kind of lawyer, even what kind of person you want to be.

This course considers legal ethics from a real world perspective. Our class discussions will revolve around hypothetical problems that are designed to sensitize you to the kinds of ethical and moral issues you will no doubt face in your careers. They demand consideration of the many competing factors that tug at lawyers as they face those decisions. These factors include the rules of professional conduct (of which you will get a healthy dose), lawyers’ personal values and interests, the demands of justice and truth-seeking, and the rights of others. Lawyers are not merely rule reciters and legal analysts. They are human beings trying to navigate their careers and lives. One important course goal is to assist you in developing a rough methodology for approaching these issues in ways that are consistent with ethical rules and your own sense of self.

This course is designed for those who enjoy learning by doing and discussing. It is not primarily a lecture course. Instead, its hallmarks are student-performed skits and lively discussions, leavened by sufficient lecturing to cover the basics. For those who prefer to learn simply by listening to lectures or who are interested just in the black letter law, another P.R. course might be a better fit.

The starting point for our discussions will typically be lawyers’ ethical duties that derive largely from written rules and case law. For these duties our particular focus will be the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (Model Rules), which have been adopted in one form or another by every state except California. We will examine the majority of the Model Rules. (The MPRE is based on the Model Rules.) We will also consider the significant differences between the Model Rules and California’s rules, with particular emphasis on California’s differing treatment of the duty to preserve client confidences.

We will drill much more deeply than a mere study of rules and cases. This course will challenge you to understand the limitations of the rules and to reflect on how you would conduct yourselves when facing a variety of ethical dilemmas. The Model Rules in many instances represent only a minimum standard of conduct to which lawyers must adhere. You may decide to set your personal bar much higher.

We will devote our final class to discussing professional satisfaction. This has proved to be especially meaningful for many students.

NOTE: In this class, the usual provisions of Add/Drop do not apply. All interested students, whether enrolled or on the waitlist, must attend the first class in order to be admitted. Any student who does not attend the first class without prior permission of the instructor will be dropped from the class and the waitlist. No additional students will be permitted to add the course.

Requirements Satisfaction:

This class satisfies the Professional Responsibility Requirement.

Exam Notes: (TH) Take-home examination
Exam Length: 3 hours
Course Category: Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

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