Ethics & Professional Responsibility

Q. After two other lawyers let her down, a sexual harassment victim approached me to fight for fair compensation. I haven’t done these cases before, but she thinks the case is worth millions in light of the #MeToo movement. Should I take the case? A. In a word that we don’t use often enough, “no.” When used correctly, this tiny word has the power to eliminate significant headaches, malpractice claims, and grievances. As much as…
I graduated from Marquette University Law School and aside from a couple of federal court admissions, I practice exclusively in Wisconsin. (I’ve applied to Illinois, but that’s still pending; I guess I’ll need to update my blog tagline eventually..) Wisconsin is the only state in the country to offer diploma privilege to graduates of its law schools (though New Hampshire has a limited honors-style program)—that means, by virtue of graduating here, we get to practice…
Q. Before leaving, our Chief Legal Officer reported directly to our CEO. Rather than keep counsel in upper management, may we eliminate the position and have our next lawyer report to a manager who works beneath our COO? A. You may. But the demotion may degrade the importance of legal compliance within your corporate culture and cost you much more in the long run. With few exceptions, an organization with sufficient size to employ in-house counsel would be wise to place its…
As Education Manager at the Commission on Professionalism, I have the opportunity to attend a lot of CLEs. Surveying these courses is integral to our mission of fostering high-quality professional responsibility education for lawyers in Illinois and beyond. While the CLEs we evaluate include a broad range of providers and topic areas, one commonality that has struck me is the similarity of course format, no matter the size or composition of the learner audience. This…
This week, five years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared marriage a fundamental right for same-sex couples, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal anti-bias law covers LGBTQ+ workers. This landmark decision comes during Pride Month 2020, as the Illinois LGBTQ+ community reflects on the progress they have made and what steps still need to be taken to promote great societal diversity and inclusion. In honor of Pride Month, the Commission is highlighting some of…
In a year that is not half complete and already full of unimaginable heartbreaks and disappointments, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered an opinion that is a cause for celebration. Fittingly handed down during Pride Month, as we recognize the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia held that an employer who fires an employee for being homosexual or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits…
Q. My criminal defense client texted me that he really wants to testify. He’s got loads of priors, and the prosecutor will eat him alive. How can I get my point across so that he stays far away from the witness stand? A. For starters, don’t even try to get your point across by texting. No matter how you phrase it, the wrong medium sends the wrong message. If you really want to communicate the gravity of…
The Covid-19 pandemic and very recent societal upheaval have caused unprecedented times of stress and fear throughout all ranks of the legal profession. These difficult times have especially hit hard those who are in law school and are in the earliest phases of their professional careers. On June 18, 2020, at 1:00 pm ET, a panel of experts will be presenting a 90-minute FREE (to ABA members) webinar. This will be worth your time, so…