Professional Responsibility

Professional Responsibility

Prof. Eric M. Fink

Elon Law School

Professional Responsibility

Eric M. Fink
Office hours by appointment

August 2017
Room 206
Monday-Friday, 1:30–4:30 pm


This course is intended to acquaint students with the organization and regulation of the legal profession. Upon successfully completing the course, students should be familiar with the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and other laws governing the profession, and understand how lawyers encounter and handle ethical issues as they arise in practice.

Requirements & Grading

I expect you to read the assigned material thoroughly before class, attend each class meeting, and participate actively in class. will be based on a final examination consisting of multiple choice questions, similar in format to the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). Excessive absences (2 or more classes), persistent lack of preparation, or inattention during class (including but not limited to inappropriate use of computers or electronic devices) may result in a reduction of your grade.

Elon Law School has adopted the following attendance policy for all courses:

The Law School administers a policy that a student maintain regular and punctual class attendance in all courses in which the student is registered, including externships, clinical courses, or simulation courses. Faculty members will give students written notice of their attendance policies before or during the first week of class. These policies may include, but are not limited to: treating late arrivals, early departures, and/or lack of preparation as absences; imposing grade or point reductions for absences, including assigning a failing grade or involuntarily withdrawing a student from the class; and any other policies that a professor deems appropriate to create a rigorous and professional classroom environment.

In case of illness or emergency, students may contact the Office of Student and Professional Life, which will then notify the student’s instructors. A student may notify the faculty member directly of a planned absence and should refer to individual faculty members regarding any policy that may apply. In the case of prolonged illness or incapacity, the student should contact the Office of Student and Professional Life.

The Law School honor code applies to all activities related to your law school study, including but not limited to conduct during class and examinations.

Course Material

ABA Model Rules of Professional Responsibility (available online and in various print editions)

Assigned cases are available via the course website:

Outline & Reading Assignments

Law as a Profession

Regulation of Lawyers

The Attorney-Client Relationship

Forming the Relationship

  • ABA Model Rules, 1.2-1.4, 1.8(f), 1.13, 1.14, 1.16, 1.18, 2.1

Competence & Malpractice

Attorney Fees & Client Property

Advertising & Solicitation

Client Confidentiality

Confidentiality & Privilege

  • ABA Model Rules, 1.2, 1.6, 1.9(c), 1.13, 1.16, 1.18, 2.1
  • Matter of Anonymous, 932 N.E.2d 671 (Ind. 2010)

Exceptions to the Duty of Confidentiality

Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts: General Principles

  • ABA Model Rules, 1.7, 1.10

Conflicts Between Lawyer and Client

Conflicts Involving Current Clients

Conflicts Involving Former Clients

  • ABA Model Rules, 1.7, 1.9, 1.13
  • In re Carey, 89 S.W.3d 477 (Mo. 2002)

Imputed Conflicts

  • ABA Model Rules, 1.9(b), 1.10

Duties to Tribunals, Adversaries, & Others

Candor & Misrepresentation

Fairness & Zealous Advocacy

Communications with Persons Other Than Clients