Instructional Ethics Videos Now Available for Professors and Attorneys

Nick McConnell introduces each video with a brief overview
of the ethical issue.

Scalia Law and GMU-TV have produced a set of instructional videos to assist in teaching legal ethics. These videos, which are accessible for free by clicking on the button below, consist of ten vignettes that portray hypothetical interactions between lawyers and their clients that present ethical dilemmas that ordinary well-intentioned lawyers could face. They include several hypothetical court proceedings, filmed in one of the law school’s moot courtrooms, that could arise from those interactions. The issues raised consist of conflicts of interest in joint representations of multiple clients in two types of lawsuits, a motion to disqualify counsel arising out of a law firm’s former representation of a client, billing disputes, a migrating lawyer who plans to take clients to a competing law firm, confusion over the scope of a representation, fee-sharing with non-lawyers, and a dispute as to whether a lawyer-client relationship arose from an informal discussion between a lawyer and a person with a legal question.

Screenshots taken from a few of the videos showing the range of scenarios addressed.

The scripts for the videos were written by Arthur D. Burger, an Adjunct Professor of Professional Responsibility at Scalia Law. Professor Burger, who served as a member of the ABA Ethics Committee from 2014 to 2017, has, as a practicing lawyer at Jackson & Campbell, P.C., represented law firms and lawyers in matters relating to legal ethics and legal malpractice for twenty-five years. The actors in the vignettes are Scalia Law students, faculty, and other volunteers.

The vignettes are designed to generate discussion under the direction of law professors and lawyers who are knowledgeable in the study of legal ethics and the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and to encourage further research on the issues raised. We are happy to offer these videos free of charge and hope that legal educators around the country will find them useful for enhancing their ethics instruction.

Praise for the Videos

This series of short videos focusses on specific professional responsibility dilemmas that lawyers face in various practice settings. Each video presents a challenging issue, and then leaves it to the lawyer or law student to consider, discuss, and decide how best to respond. They are excellent teaching tools for both lawyers and law students alike.

-Myles Lynk, Emeritus Professor of the Sandra Day O’Connor Law School of Arizona State University. He is a former Chair of the ABA Ethics Committee, a former Senior Assistant Disciplinary Counsel in the District of Columbia, former President of the D.C. Bar.

As a lawyer who does dozens of seminars every year, these video vignettes will be a marvelous teaching tool for lawyers. The best-and most effective-ethics teaching is interactive, getting lawyers to talk in a group about real-life ethics issues. These videos present important, real-life hypotheticals in a way that will allow for real discussion of all the ethics angles. I can’t wait to use them with practicing lawyers.

-Lucian Pera, a partner at Adams & Reese LLP in Memphis and winner of the Michael Franck Award, which is the highest honor bestowed by the Center for Professional Responsibility of the ABA for lifetime contributions to legal ethics and professional responsibility. He is a former President of the Tennessee Bar, a frequent speaker at national conferences regarding legal ethics, and has represented lawyers in such matters for 30 years.

These vignettes offer invaluable insights into complex ethical dilemmas that lawyers face every day in their practice setting. By presenting these challenges in a concise, narrative format, they help to facilitate discussion, promote a deeper understanding of concepts, and stimulate critical thinking among the audience — be it a law school class or a CLE program. Excellent hypotheticals that not only enhance comprehension of legal ethics but also encourage proactive reflection and discussion and teach the black letter rules to a real-world audience!

-Tracy Kepler, Risk Control Consulting Director of the Professional Liability Program for CNA. She is a former Director of the Center for Professional Responsibility of the ABA, and has 20+ years in the regulation/disciplinary field as both a former Assistant Solicitor with the Office of General Counsel in charge of conducting disciplinary investigation and prosecution of patent/trademark practitioners before the U.S. Office of Patent and Trademarks and with the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission. She is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, American University-Washington College of Law, and Loyola School of Law, teaching Professional Responsibility & Legal Ethics.