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Spring 2024 Course

Legal Profession: Complex Litigation

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: One-Day Take-Home

This course will examine the rules of professional conduct and the values and responsibilities of the legal profession and its members in the setting of class action lawsuits, multidistrict litigation (MDLs), and other forms of complex litigation. Most cases pending in federal courts today fall into these categories: in 2021, there were 461,478 civil cases filed in U.S. District Courts and more than 190,000 of them (or more than 40%) were filed in a single MDL (involving allegedly defective earplugs sold by the 3M Company to the U.S. military). Representing both plaintiffs and defendants in these settings raises a unique set of professional responsibility concerns, from advertising and solicitation, through conflicts of interest and confidentiality, to attorney’s fee structures. More generally, unique forms of law firms, arrangements among and across firms, and professional roles have arisen out of these settings, for both repeat players and single-shot participants. This course will examine the professional responsibility rules as applied in complex litigation sequentially, from the lead up to a class action or MDL, through the filing or organization of such a case, to aggregate trials or settlements and fee and funding systems. In doing so, we will consider a range of firm structures on both the plaintiff and defense side, as well as litigation funding companies.

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

The use of laptops, iPhones, and similar devices will not be permitted during class.