The Client Relationship
Law 6022
3 Credits
Enrollment limited to 48 students

This course satisfies the Professional Responsibility requirement and is taken instead of Law 6020.

Clark D. Cunningham

W. Lee Burge Chair in Law & Ethics
Spring Semester 2020
Wednesday: 6:00 pm - 8:45 pm
Room 242
Copyright 2017

Last updated
October 29, 2019

Course administered on TWEN (The West Education Network)


Comments from course evaluations:
"I am very glad I took the course. Now that I have taken it, I would not want to practice law without it."
"The most accessible and thought out syllabus I have had in law school."
"unique approach to professional responsibility as a core value for lawyers made this course very intriguing"
"engaging materials and group activities that made us think and want to talk about the topic"
 "The profession would be improved by having more people take a course like this that goes deeper than rote memory of the rules that govern it."
"The course was thought-provoking and put the rules of ethics and professionalism in proper and helpful context."
"The firms [are] unique to the typical law school classroom atmosphere. Made people work with each other and that's a skill that law school just simply ignores."
"You have the opportunity to learn from your classmates while also building relationships"
"He makes coming to class at night after a long day at work enjoyable."
"The case studies provide illustration of real-life application of ethics rules."
"Professor Cunningham's expertise of the course materials meant that his answers to questions were quick, accurate, and his reasoning easy to follow."
"very clear communicator ... provides real world examples ... shares great stories"

The reading assignments are posted on the course TWEN web site, linked to the syllabus posted and updated on TWEN, except for the Materials on Georgia Legal Ethics and the Case Studies which will be passed out in class at no charge.

Constance Baker Motley with James Meredith



Course Description

In this course students will learn how to develop effective and ethical relationships with clients, become competent in recognizing moral dilemmas in the real-life situations encountered by lawyers, and begin to acquire the professional judgment necessary to resolve the kind of complex problems that arise in legal practice.   Students will become skilled in interpreting and applying the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct and will understand the attorney discipline system in Georgia as well as basic common law principles arising from malpractice and attorney disqualification decisions. Significant differences between the Georgia and ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct will be covered.  Students will regularly perform lawyering exercises that develop client relationship skills and ethical decision making. They will write one paper that applies what they have learned to analyze videotaped lawyer-client meetings and propose what they would have done in the situation. There will also be short quizzes and a final examination.

This course satisfies the Professional Responsibility requirement and is taken instead of Law 6020.

Students will be assigned to Firms.

ATTENDANCE: Students are expected to attend every class absent good cause for absence. A student may be required to withdraw from the course without credit based upon repeated absence and/or a pattern of being tardy or leaving early without good cause. If a student is absent or late when a quiz is given, it is the student's responsibility to notify the instructor promptly (and preferably before class) if the student wishes to take the quiz as a make-up; such a student must provide in writing an explanation of the good cause and make arrangements with the instructor to take the quiz, which must normally be completed before the next class. Although class participation is not formally factored into the course grade, students will be evaluated on their preparation and contribution to firm work.

COURSE GRADE: The course grade will be calculated as follows:
Writing assignment: 40%
Composite score based on in-class quizzes, firm assignments, and evaluation of work in firms: 30%
-- Appealing quiz grades
Final exam: 30%

EXERCISES: There will be a number of exercises. Students must prepare to play an assigned role (lawyer or sometimes a client) for each role play.(A student's performance in a role play is not graded.) A writing assignment based on one or more of these exercises will count as 40% of the final course grade.

CASE STUDIES: The case studies are based on actual cases. Students must be prepared to engage in rigorous class discussion about the details of the cases and to analyze the decisions and actions of the lawyers.

EXAMINATION   The final examination will count for 30% of the course grade and will be a two-hour closed book multiple choice exam consisting of 50 questions.

Students will be expected to be familiar with all the assigned readings, including all pages assigned from the case studies. Students must also be familiar with the fact patterns for the exercises. Students who attend all exercises and case study discussions will be better prepared for the examination.  

You will need to know the content of the ABA Model Rules and Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct assigned on the course syllabus (including the comments) but are not expected to identify them by rule number. If you are asked to compare a specific Georgia rule with an ABA model rule, the text of the ABA model rule will be attached to the exam. Except for such comparison questions, exam questions that refer to a specific rule will provide a description of the topic of the rule rather than the rule number (e.g. "the Georgia rule of professional conduct for lawyers who represent corporations" rather than "GRPC 1.13").

Some of the questions will be MPRE type questions that ask you to apply the rules of professional conduct to a hypothetical fact pattern. Some questions will test knowledge and comprehension of court decisions and other materials assigned for reading. Many of the questions will be based on fact patterns from the Exercises and Case Studies and will focus on issues of ethical decisionmaking and professional judgment discussed in class and in the writing assignments. (In terms of the exercises, complete review of the "Exercises" section of the course web site is an excellent method of preparation; by "complete" I mean all the background information, specific instructions, videos, student papers posted on the web site, and instructor comments on the papers.)

The final exam will contain the following instructions:

No notes or outlines. No copy of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct or the ABA Model Code or Model Rules other than the ABA Model Rules which are attached to the end of this exam.

Assume the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct of Professional Conduct apply unless otherwise specified. The phrase “Rules of Professional Conduct” includes the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct as well as the identical provisions of the hypothetical “New York Rules of Professional Conduct” applied to the Simon and OPM Exercises and the hypothetical “Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct” applied to the Baby Jessica Exercise. MUST, REQUIRED, PROHIBITED or SUBJECT TO DISCIPLINE asks whether the conduct referred to or described in the question subjects the attorney to discipline under one or more provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct. MAY, PERMITTED OR PROPER asks whether the conduct referred to or described in the question is professionally appropriate in that it would not subject the attorney to discipline under one or more provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Click here to see raw scores on similar exams given in Professional Responsibility: Heroes & Villains

Required Materials

No materials are required for purchase at the bookstore

Duplicated Materials: Distributed in class at no cost
Materials on Georgia Legal Ethics (including the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct)
Case Studies
Volume I: Frank Armani and the Garrow Case (edited from Tom Alibrandi & Frank Armani, Privileged Information)
Volume II: (A) The Baby Jessica Case (B) The James Meredith Case

General Information (Course Administration)


Clark D. Cunningham
Office: Law School 210
Phone: (404) 413-9168
Fax: (404) 413-9225
Faculty Assistant: Karen P. Butler
    Room 202   (404) 413-9082