Expanded emphasis is given to professionalism and ethics issues during the law school’s orientation program for entering students. Three professors, Michael Van Alstine, Jerome Deise and Sheldon Krantz, speak about professional responsibility and current issues confronting the legal profession.
A new Legal Profession Seminar, offered by Distinguished Visiting Professor Sheldon Krantz, uses simulation to demonstrate how and why lawyers get into trouble. To learn more about the ethical dilemmas lawyers face, students are assigned roles in proceedings such as Bar Counsel disciplinary hearings, internal law firm investigations of alleged attorney misconduct, and appeals of lawyer sanction rulings. Many of the situations used are drawn from actual incidents. Through the simulations, students learn the ways that pressures in practice create ethical and values dilemmas and how ethical rules of professional conduct and other forms of regulation are utilized (or fail) to respond to alleged lawyer misconduct. Students also prepare research papers on current important ethics issues, such as lawyers’ use of social media to promote business development.
Students have the option of receiving credit through externships with agencies that have ethical oversight roles. In the past two years, students have had externships with federal and state agencies, bar associations, and non-profits. Assignments have included: preparing drafts of legal ethics opinions (for the Maryland Bar Legal Ethics Committee); preparing guidelines on permissible forms of client solicitation (for Civil Justice); and participating in discussions with federal prosecutors on anticipated ethics problems (for the U.S. Department of Justice Professional Responsibility Advisory Office). These assignments have given students the opportunities to see how ethics issues arise and are resolved in real settings and to help provide guidelines to interpret ethics policies.
The law school created a “roving professor” pilot project under which two experienced legal ethics professors, Robert Condlin and Sheldon Krantz, are available to develop and teach ethics materials upon request by other faculty members. The number of requests far exceeded expectations. Through the roving professor program, simulation exercises were developed for contracts, torts, and legislation courses, for example, involving ethics issues arising in negotiation, contract drafting and client counseling situations. It is anticipated that this program will continue and grow in the future.
In March 2013, the program provided an initial program—simulation training on contract negotiation and related ethics issues to young associates in the Baltimore and Washington, DC offices of DLA. Professors Robert Rhee and Michelle Harner, co-chairs of the Business Law Program, conducted the training. The positive response to it indicates that there is an important role for the law school to play in this field. If additional funding becomes available, the law school will be offering professional development training programs for practitioners.
Faculty and students at the law school have been actively involved in scholarship relating to professionalism issues during 2013. Professor Paula Monopoli and Susan McCarty, managing research fellow at UM Carey Law’s Thurgood Marshall Library, edited a book, Law and Leadership: Integrating Leadership Studies into the Law School Curriculum (Ashgate 2013), which examines whether and how to integrate leadership studies into legal education. Professor Sheldon Krantz is now completing a book, A New Agenda for the Legal Profession, which will be published by LexisNexis in November 2013. Recent graduate Abe Gitterman wrote a paper, “Ethical Issue and Practical Challenges Raised by Internal Investigations in the Life Sciences Industry,” for Professor Krantz’s class, which won first prize in the International Association of Defense Counsel’s 2013 writing competition.
An integral aspect of the Moser Initiative will be to involve the law school more actively in addressing the access to justice crisis and needed reforms in the legal profession. Under the auspices of the Professionalism and Diversity Faculty Committee, a pilot project is being developed, as part of the Moser Initiative, to work with legal services providers and non-profits in the Baltimore area and other professional schools in the University of Maryland, Baltimore community to provide direct and online services to veterans relating to benefits, employment, and housing. There are thousands of veterans in Maryland with unmet legal and social service needs. If additional funding becomes available, the school will undertake this project, becoming a laboratory for testing novel ways to reach out to and help underserved populations.
Professor Robert Rhee, with assistance from Associate Dean Michelle Harner, recently provided transaction negotiation simulation training for junior associates at DLA Piperís Washington, DC office. The simulation focused on complex multi-party negotiations and business valuation, financing laws of LLCs and ethics issues.