PR.Baker.2000.1 - 1 PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBIITY-Prof. Baker...

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1 PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBIITY—Prof. Baker Fall, 2000 Office hours – M, Tues, Wed – 3:45-4:45 Exam 12/20 – 5 hours (really 2 hour exam), page-limited. 2 questions equal weight. Three Major Areas: Ethical Issues surrounding large dollar settlements & large numbers claimants. Mass tort settlements. Who gets how much? Tobacco litigation settlement. Attorney’s fees. Assisting attorneys who are sued for malpractice or breach of fiduciary duty(w/ or w/o malpractice). Ongoing ethics advice regarding conflicts of interest Will not cover “special issues” – generic ones. Connotations of these phrases – not necessarily a good thing Law Governing Lawyers – emphasis on laws. why are the laws the way they are. Law of agency – hired to act on behalf of the client. Separate body of law governing agents more generally. Fiduciary duties – Dr.—Pt. : embody degree of trust b/c one person has greater knowledge/skill. Professional Responsibility – “Professionalism” Professions distinguished by fact that they regulate themselves. Asymmetry of information b/c professional knowledge determines competency. Aura of superiority. Closed, mysterious. Legal Ethics – above & beyond the law there are other responsibilities. A higher std than what is required by the law. Lawyers are supposed to behave better than other people. Can’t juxtapose ethics w/ economics. Three Theories of Legal Ethics to Scrutinize over the Semester: 1. The Wal-Mart Theory – Wal-mart always give you your money back, even though law doesn’t make them do this. Good for business/ good will. For the most part lawyers can be counted on to do what’s good for business & good for the clients b/c good for repeat business. What is good for business is also good for the public. Exception # 1 – Sometimes b/c lawyers are not rational, outside pressures influence their judgment. Economics assumes rational behavior. Have to take some measure of protection in situations where lawyer can’t be counted on to do the right thing(emotional instability, substance abuse). Exception # 2 – Sometimes lawyers will have judgments to make and will keep client in the dark and client won’t be in a position to have input into decision. Client may not know they haven’t gotten what they’re buying. The consumer cannot evaluate what they are buying. In this situation, may need protections for client b/c client can’t self-protect and can’t monitor behavior of lawyer. 2. Lawyers Are People – Incentives to which they respond are the same that drive other people(money, self-esteem, helping others). Lawyers have their problems but this is true of people in every profession. When regulating people, should consider them just like everyone else & this is true in every profession.
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PR.Baker.2000.1 - 1 PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBIITY-Prof. Baker...

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