Professional Responsibility

Professional Responsibility

Prof. Eric M. Fink

Elon Law School

Professional Responsibility

Eric M. Fink
Office hours by appointment

Fall 2018
Section A: Monday & Wednesday, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm, Room 207
Section B: Monday & Wednesday, 3:15 - 4:45 pm, Room B106


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.

Course Material

Casebook & Rules (Required)

Barbara Glesner Fines, Professional Responsibility: A Context and Practice Casebook (Carolina Acad. Press 2013) (“Casebook”)

ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (2018) (Online at the ABA website and various print editions.)

Study Aids (Suggested)

The course website has practice exam questions, visual aids, and links to other resources.

Grace M. Giesel, Mastering Professional Responsibility (2d ed., Carolina Acad. Press 2015)

Requirements & Grading

I expect you to read the assigned material thoroughly before class, attend each class meeting, and participate actively in class. Your grade will be based on unit quizzes (25%) and a final examination (75%). The quizzes and final examination will consist 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.

Schedule & Reading Assignments

Law as a Profession

September 5th
  • Casebook: Pages 3-15

  • ABA Model Rules: Preamble & Scope

Regulation of Lawyers

  • Casebook: Pages 17-89, 585-598

  • ABA Model Rules: 1.0, 5.1-5.7, 8.1-8.5

The Attorney-Client Relationship

Forming & Ending the Relationship

  • Casebook: Pages 91-103, 555-572

  • ABA Model Rules: 1.8(f), 1.13, 1.14, 1.16, 1.18, 4.2, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3

Competence, Diligence, Malpractice, & Ineffective Assistance

  • Casebook: Pages 105-129, 573-581

  • ABA Model Rules: 1.1, 1.3, 1.14, 2.1

Attorney Fees & Client Property

  • Casebook: Pages 131-151

  • ABA Model Rules: 1.5, 1.8, 1.15

Advertising & Solicitation

  • Casebook: Pages 599-627

  • ABA Model Rules: 7.1-7.6

Communication & Allocation of Authority Between Lawyer & Client

  • Casebook: Pages 153-170

  • ABA Model Rules: 1.2, 1.4, 1.14, 2.1

Attorney-Client Relationship: Review & Quiz

  • Casebook: Pages 171-178, 628-631


Duty of Confidentiality & Evidentiary Privileges

  • Casebook: Pages 179-206

  • ABA Model Rules: 1.6, 1.9(c), 1.13, 1.18

Exceptions to Confidentiality & Privilege

  • Casebook: Pages 207-253

  • ABA Model Rules: 1.6, 1.13, 4.4(b)

Confidentiality: Review & Quiz

  • Casebook: Pages 254-258

Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts: General Principles

  • Casebook: Pages 347-359, 381-402

  • ABA Model Rules: 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 1.10, 1,11, 1.12, 1.13, 1.18

Conflicts Between Lawyer & Client

  • Casebook: Pages 361-379

  • ABA Model Rules: 1.7, 1.8, 6.4, 6.5

Conflicts Among Clients

  • Casebook: Pages 403-448

  • ABA Model Rules: 1.7, 1.9, 1.13

Imputated Conflicts

  • Casebook: Pages 449-455

  • ABA Model Rules: 1.9(b), 1.10

Conflicts: Review & Quiz

  • Casebook: Pages 456-462

Limits on Zealous Advocacy

Candor to the Court

  • Casebook: Pages 259-315

  • ABA Model Rules: 1.2(d), 1.6, 3.1, 3.3, 3.4(b), 4.1, 8.4

Misconduct in Litigation

  • Casebook: Pages 463-510

  • ABA Model Rules: - 3.1-3.9

Communications with Litigants, Witnesses, and Jurors

  • Casebook: Pages 511-531

  • ABA Model Rules: 3.5, 4.2, 4.3

Misrepresentations in Negotiations

  • Casebook: Pages 293-315

  • ABA Model Rules: 1.6, 4.1

Client Counseling

  • Casebook: Pages 317-337

  • ABA Model Rules: 1.2, 1.6, 1.13, 1.16, 2.1

Limits on Zealous Advocacy: Review & Quiz

  • Casebook: Pages 338-344, Pages 548-552