Lawyers Following Orders

ALS course examines ethical pitfalls and possible solutions

4 - 6 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009
Suffolk University Law School
120 Tremont Street, Boston

Advanced Legal Studies presents "Lawyers Following Orders: Ethical Pitfalls and Possible Solutions".

In today’s legal marketplace, lawyers usually practice with other lawyers and thus find themselves supervising other attorneys or being supervised themselves. In this environment, what happens when a subordinate lawyer receives an instruction to engage in unethical or illegal conduct from a supervising attorney or a valued client? For example, what happens when a partner tells an associate to bury a smoking gun document instead of producing it in discovery, or a prosecutor instructs a subordinate not to disclose exculpatory evidence to a defense attorney? The answer, social psychologists tell us, is that subordinates are much more likely to do what they are told than we would like to believe.

This program will describe a subordinate lawyer’s tendency to obey authority figures, identify specific problem that occur in both the civil and criminal contexts as result of this tendency, explore the many legal ethics issues that consequently arise, and offer insights into how to deal with this problem, which ultimately has ethical, legal, and malpractice dimensions.


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Center for Advanced Legal Studies