Lawyers Following Orders: Ethical Pitfalls & Possible Solutions


The Law School's Advanced Legal Studies program will offer Lawyers Following Orders: Ethical Pitfalls and Possible Solutions on Jan. 14, 2009.

In today’s legal marketplace, lawyers usually practice with other lawyers and thus find themselves supervising other attorneys or being supervised themselves.

Social psychologists tell us that subordinates are much more likely to do as they are told than we would like to believe, which raises questions of what might happen if a subordinate lawyer is instructed to engage in unethical or illegal conduct from a supervising attorney or a valued client. For example, a partner might tell an associate to bury a smoking-gun document instead of producing it in discovery, or a prosecutor might instruct a subordinate not to disclose exculpatory evidence to a defense attorney.

The Lawyers Following Orders: Ethical Pitfalls and Possible Solutions 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.

The program is aimed at:

  • Lawyers who serve as ethical advisors for their firms or their public sector equivalents
  • Lawyers who want to learn more about the ethical, legal and malpractice issues associated with subordinate lawyers and supervisors
  • Lawyers who want to develop strategies to effectively communicate with supervising attorneys or other authority figures when confronted with ethical dilemmas

The program will be offered from 4-6 p.m.Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009, at  Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston.

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