Baby Jessica: Exercise One - Instructions
All students should prepare to play the lawyer's role (Scarnecchia) for an imaginary meeting at the University of Michigan Child Advocacy Clinic with Jan DeBoer (the adoptive father) after the meeting between Robby DeBoer and Scarnecchia described in Vol. II: 26-28. (You will be "Sam" Scarnecchia if you are a man.) I will play the role of Jan DeBoer. This will be your first meeting with Jan DeBoer; at your suggestion Robby DeBoer is not present. Assume that the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC) are identical to the Georgia Rules.
As in real life, you, the lawyer, are already very familiar with the factual history and legal issues in the case. Your task in this meeting is to provide in oral form the "reasonable and adequate information about the material risks of and reasonable available alternatives," MRPC 1.7(b)(2), to having the Child Advocacy Clinic jointly represent both Robby and Jan regarding the custory of Baby Jessica. Of course this explanation would have to be presented to Jan in writing prior seeking his informed consent. Under MRPC 1.7(b) you can not ask him to consent at this meeting.
You have already had a similar discussion with Robby, though you have not yet given her the written explanation required by MRPC 1.7(b)(2).
There are other significant risks apart from the joint representation issues that should be disclosed and discussed prior to obtaining informed consent but you are not expected to address them in this exercise; we will discuss these other conflict issues in class and they may be the subject of one or more quiz questions.