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Fall 2024 Course

Legal Profession: Collaborative Law

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: Last Class Take-Home
In addition to the final exam, students will submit a one-page reading response for each class. Readings for the course will be photocopied materials.

The practice of law has been transformed in recent years by the emergence of Collaborative Law and the role of settlement counsel. In these new forms of practice, the lawyer focuses on problem-solving and achieving an interest-based solution that works for all parties. Collaborative Law practice has been approved as consistent with the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, in a 2007 opinion by the ABA Ethics Committee. This course examines how Collaborative Law meshes with the requirements of the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and in particular the Rules’ requirement of “zealous” advocacy.

The course will examine such questions as the following: (a) in a setting in which the parties and counsel have agreed to negotiate cooperatively and share all relevant information, how do lawyers balance that expectation with the Model Rules’ requirement that lawyers protect the confidentiality of communications with their clients; (b) in Collaborative Law cases, where lawyers and clients agree that the lawyers shall be involved only in negotiations and are disqualified from representing the client in court, how do lawyers assure themselves that the clients are giving fully informed consent to these arrangements as required by the Model Rules: and (c) how do lawyers who are seeking to work cooperatively with each other and to seek solutions that meet the needs of all parties reconcile those objectives with their duty under the Model Rules of unfettered loyalty to their clients. This course will examine ethical dilemmas of this kind with case studies, role plays, and small group discussion.

Note: This course is primarily available to JD 3Ls and LLM students. Seats will open to 2Ls if space provides.