Professional Responsibility: Heroes & Villains
Course Home Page:
Clark D. Cunningham
Georgia State University College of Law: Law Course 6020


All Assigned Readings are published on this course web site and linked directly to this Syllabus except for the duplicated materials distributed in class.
To be handed out (no charge) at the first class:
(1) Materials on Georgia Legal Ethics (which include the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct): optional download as a 223 page MS Word document)
(2) Case Studies, Volume I: The Garrow Case -- Privileged Information by Tom Alibrandi & Frank Armani (edited)

An on-line guide to Legal Ethics in Georgia is available at

When a Georgia or ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct is assigned, the accompanying comments are also assigned unless otherwise indicated.
GRPC = Georgia Rule of Professional Conduct. MR = ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct. GLE = Materials on Georgia Legal Ethics
All writing and other projects assigned for a particular class are due at noon on the Monday preceding class unless otherwise indicated on the syllabus, to give the instructor sufficient time to review before Wednesday class.

This course requires you to view videos on a computer to complete several assignments. To view the videos, the computer you are using must have the QuickTime software installed. To download this software for free, click on the following link:
Free Version of QuickTime

NO CLASS ON WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 14. (Hold 2:45 - 4:25 on Tuesday, April 28 for possible make-up.)

CLASS ONE (1/21/15)
Review information on the course home page about firms and appealing quiz scores.
Please complete the on-line student information and learning contract form by Monday, January 19 (click here for the form)
Please complete short, anonymous on-line survey by Monday, January 19: Character Strengths of an Ideal Lawyer

NOTE: Be prepared to change seats within the first 5 minutes of class as we form "firms" for the semester.

  1. Course Introduction
  2. American Bar Association: New Standards for Approval of Law Schools (August 2014)
  3. American Bar Association Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions (22 page pdf)

    What are the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct?
  4. Georgia State Bar Rule 4-102: Disciplinary Action; Levels of Discipline
  5. GRPC: Preamble
  6. GRPC: Scope

    Readings 7-20 are NOT assigned for reading before class on January 21. You will refer to them, as found in your copy of Georgia Legal Ethics, handed out during class, to answer questions on a sample in-class quiz (not for grade) using "clickers"

    How are the Rules interpreted?
  7. Ways to Get Advice on the Application of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct GLE 146-47
  8. Formal Advisory Opinions GLE 148-50

    How are the Rules enforced?
  9. GRPC 5.1: Responsibilities of Supervisory Lawyers
  10. GRPC 5.2: Responsibilities of Subordinate Lawyers
  11. GRPC 5.3: Responsibilities for Nonlawyer Assistants
  12. GRPC 8.1: Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters
  13. GRPC 8.3: Reporting Professional Misconduct
  14. GRPC 8.4: Misconduct
  15. GRPC 8.5: Choice of Law
  16. GRPC 9.1: Reporting Requirements
  17. GRPC 9.2: Prohibition on Agreements not to File Disciplinary Complaints
  18. GRPC 9.3: Cooperation with Disciplinary Authorities
  19. GRPC 9.4: Jurisdiction and Reciprocal Discipline
  20. Georgia Attorney Discipline Procedures GLE 124-45

    CLASS TWO (1/28/15)
    Regulation of Lawyer Advertising Through the Bar Disciplinary System
  21. Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977) (established 1st Amendment right for attorneys to advertise)
  23. Read ABA MR 7.1 (including the comment)
  24. Comparison chart on Rule 7.1 (Word document)
  25. GRPC: 7.2: ADVERTISING (GLE 100-102)
  26. GRPC 7.3: Direct Contact with Prospective Clients (GLE 102-106)
  27. ABA MR 7.3
  29. GRPC 7.5: Firm Names and Letterheads (GLE 106-107)
  30. Read ABA MR 7.2, 7.4 and 7.5 (you are NOT required to read the comments)
  31. In the Matter of Anonymous, 775 N.E. 2d 1094 (Ind. 2002) (example of deceptive lawyer advertisement)
  32. Sample website that violates the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct (created by Robert Bexley, COL '10):ppt pdf
  33. Falanga v State Bar of Georgia , 150 F.3d 1333 (11th Cir.1998)
  34. Formal Advisory Opinion 05-6: Ethical propriety of lawyer advertising where the intent is to refer out to other lawyers (GLE 186=88)

    Due Monday, February 2 by noon. Email to Professor Cunningham AND your other firm members your Proposed Firm Code of Conduct (3-5 standards for peer evaluation).
    To review codes of conduct adopted by firms in prior years: Fall 2012
    Fall 2013

    Class Three

  35. GRPC 1.5 Fees
  36. Stephanie Cahill, "New York Courts Require [Fee] Letter," ABA Journal E-Report (3/29/02)
  37. New York Rule 1215: Written Letter of Engagement
  38. Advisory Opinion 47: Contingent Fees to Collect Past Due Alimony or Child Support
  39. Formal Advisory Opinion 87-5: Assertion of Attorneys' Retaining Liens
  40. Formal Advisory Opinion 91-2: Advance Fee Payments
  41. Formal Advisory Opinion 01-1: Is it ethically permissible to charge for a standard unit of time without regard to actual time expended?
  42. Formal Advisory Opinion 03-1: May an attorney charge a non-refundable special retainer?
  43. Formal Advisory Opinion 11-1: Flat fixed fee contract for legal services
  44. GRPC 1.15(I) Safekeeping Property - General
  45. Brown v. Legal Foundation of Washington, 538 U.S. 216 (2003)
  46. GRPC 1 .15(II) Safekeeping Property - Trust Account and IOLTA
  47. GRPC 1.15(III) Record Keeping; Trust Account Overdraft Notification; Examination of Records