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

This course satisfies the Professional Responsibility requirement and therefore can be taken instead of Law 6020.


Clark D. Cunningham

W. Lee Burge Chair in Law & Ethics
Fall Semester 2020
Wednesday: 6:00 pm - 8:45 pm
Taught entirely online

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.


Constance Baker Motley with James Meredith
 


 



 


Course Description

This course is taught entirely on-line, which means there is no expectation that students will meet face-to-face with each other or the instructor in the law school building at any point during the semester. However, with the exception of the first class on August 19, students are expected to be available for on-line activities during the weekly class time scheduled as Wednesday, 6:00pm – 8:45pm. A few classes are designated on the syllabus as “Live Classes”, which means that for some or all of the scheduled class time students will be interacting with each other and/or the instructor in real-time via Zoom.
            The course will be taught using a TWEN (The West Education Network) website rather than through iCollege. Students will be automatically added to the TWEN course using GSU registration information; students can not directly add themselves to TWEN course site.
            The course is designed to use a variety of online tools for interactive learning, including on-line quizzes, discussion problems, exercises, and forum discussions within the student’s “law firm.”

This course satisfies the Professional Responsibility requirement and therefore can be taken instead of Law 6020.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES
: 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 kinds 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. In order to put student learning in the context of real-life law practice, the course is taught primarily from the standpoint of the Georgia rules and Georgia law. However, students will still be well-prepared to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) which tests the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct because significant differences between the Georgia and ABA Model Rules will be covered.  Students will engage in 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 regular on-line quizzes and discussion problems and a two-hour, open-book multiple-choice final examination.

ATTENDANCE: Students are expected to submit quizzes and other assignments when due and be  available during weekly scheduled class hours absent good cause A student may be required to withdraw from the course without credit based upon repeated failure to submit assignments when due absence and/or a pattern of not being available during scheduled class hours. If a student fails to submit a quiz or other assignment by the due date, it is the student's responsibility to notify the instructor promptly (and preferably before due date) if the student wishes permission to submit the quiz or other assignment after the deadline. Note that late submission will not be permitted after the instructor posts on the course website annotated correct quiz answers or other feedback for an assignment. Students will also be evaluated on their contribution to firm work, in particular as documented in their firm’s online TWEN forum, and that evaluation will be factored into the composite quiz score for the semester.

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

FIRMS: After the drop/add deadline, students will be assigned to a team or "law firm" of 4-6 students. Much of the course’s interactive work will take place in these law firms. Each law firm will be assigned a second TWEN website with access restricted to firm members for discussion using the TWEN “forum” function. Law firms play an important role in relation to course quizzes – see below.
In addition to collaboration on quizzes, a number of other tasks will regularly be assigned for teamwork during class time. The student’s quiz score total for the semester will class participation points reflecting both the quality of the entire firm’s work on some of these tasks and the student’s own contribution to the firm, particularly as documented on the firm’s Forum in TWEN.

QUIZZES:   For most weeks, students will be required to complete an online TWEN quiz testing comprehension of materials assigned for that week as well as potentially reviewing material assigned for prior weeks. These will beopen book quiz, which means that students can look at the rules of professional conduct and readings assigned on the syllabus. However, students may NOT confer with fellow law firm members or any other person about questions before the submission deadline. Students are allowed to take a practice quiz, but must make sure they take the actual quiz after doing a practice and hit submit - after which students will see another message. Students can view and print the questions and responses after submitting.
During class hours, the instructor will grade the quiz and may give students the option to answer some questions again, typically if there is a range of answers given.  Under this option, students may use their firm forum to discuss the questions to be retaken, usually with a time limit of 60 minutes before resubmitted answers are due.  Both the first and second answer will be counted equally. Studies of team-based-learning indicate that effectively functioning teams will usually outperform individual student scores and that has been the prior experience in this course. However, students are not required to give the same answer as other firm members.
If a student is unable to submit a quiz when due, it is the student's responsibility to notify the instructor promptly (and, if at all possible, before the submission deadline) if the student wishes to submit the quiz after the deadline; such a student must provide in writing an explanation of what they believe to be the good cause. If the student is allowed to submit the quiz after the deadline, the quiz must be taken before annotated correct answers are posted on the course website. If the student has good cause for missing the quiz deadline and resubmission of one or more answers is permitted after firm discussion, if everyone in the firm gives the same correct response on resubmission the absent student will get credit for a correct response (on the assumption that if the absent student had been able to participate in firm discussion, that student would also have given the correct answer on resubmission).

EXERCISES:             There will be a variety of interactive lawyering exercises. In one type students will view online the videotape of a simulated or actual example of legal work and then analyze what they have observed by submitting online answers to specific discussion questions, through discussion on their law firm forum, and/or in a “live” Zoom conversation during scheduled class hours.  In a variation of this type of exercise (e.g. Simon Exercise – Part 1), after watching a simulated lawyer-client meeting students will post online follow-up questions which then be answered by the instructor taking the client’s role.  In the most extended “live” exercise, Simon Exercise – Part 2, an entire firm will role-play a client meeting on Zoom in real time with firm members taking lawyer and client roles based on confidential instructions. Finally, students will view two videos of students from prior years conducting the same role-play as Simon Exercise – Part 2, and write a paper (worth 30% of the course grade) analyzing and comparing how each student handled the meeting and then proposing how the student would conduct the same meeting to address the issues identified through analysis of the videotapes and the student’s own experience of Simon Exercise – Part 2.

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 open book multiple choice exam.
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 will need to know the content of the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules and Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct assigned on the course syllabus (including the comments). Students will not be tested on the “maximum penalty” specified for each Georgia rule.
Some of the questions will be questions of the type found on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination that ask the student 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 decision making and professional judgment of the type explored in on-line quizzes, discussion problems, and other assignments during the semester.


Required Materials

Bookstore:
No materials are required for purchase at the bookstore

Course Materials: Distributed through the TWEN website 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)

CONTACT INFORMATION

Clark D. Cunningham
Office: Law School 210
Phone: (404) 413-9168
Fax: (404) 413-9225
cdcunningham@gsu.edu
Senior Faculty Co-ordinator: Karen P. Butler
    Room 202   (404) 413-9082 kpbutler@gsu.edu