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Spring 2023 Course

Legal Profession: Public Interest Lawyering

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: In Class

This course will explore the application of the rules and the standards of professional responsibility and legal ethics to daily legal practice with a focus on public interest lawyers, broadly defined to include lawyers who practice as individuals and as members of public interest law organizations, government organizations, legal aid organizations, and other kinds of non-profit organizations. We will contrast those applications to the implementation of these rules and standards in private practice, including in pro bono cases handled by private attorneys. We will examine the competing pressures on lawyers and the standards of ethics that guide legal conduct, including reconciling the duties that lawyers have to their individual clients, to their organizational clients, to a cause, to the courts, and to the bar. We also will consider lawyers’ professional responsibilities concerning access to justice, lawyering with limited resources, and the changing demographics of lawyers and clients. We will explore issues of professional responsibility that arise as lawyers change jobs and areas of focus, in civil and criminal settings, government practice, public interest lawyering, legal aid work, and private practice. This course will also address lawyer well-being, self-care, and work-life balance in the face of these changes and challenges.

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