Ronald Rotunda, law professor at Chapman University, Fowler School of Law, responds to the Justice Sonya Sotomayor’s comment that she favors imposing mandatory pro bono work on lawyers. Rotunda argues that while lawyers should engage in pro bono work, making it mandatory would infringe on their liberty to decide how to spend their time and doesn’t adequately account for other ways in which lawyers help their communities.
Chapman University professor Ronald Rotunda comments on the increasingly controversial positions taken by the American Law Institute (ALI), which is one of the most important nongovernmental legal institutions in the United States. Rotunda describes some of the changes in laws proposed in recent editions of the ALI’s highly influential Model Codes and Restatements.
Vikram David Amar, dean and law professor at University of Illinois Law, and Greg Miarecki, the director of career services at Illinois Law, offer ten tips to law students on how to get the most out of their summer legal jobs.
Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda comments on the prevalence of alcoholism among attorneys as compared to those in other professions. Rotunda urges lawyers with alcohol addiction problems and those who know such people to seek help from programs such as Lawyer Assistance Programs, which are available in nearly all U.S. jurisdictions.
Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda comments on the practice of judges requiring lawyers to donate to charities. Rotunda argues that this practice violates the code of judicial conduct for federal judges.
Illinois Law professor and dean Vikram David Amar interprets the recently released data on California’s bar exam results from July 2015. Amar expresses concern at the lower pass rates and calls upon both the profession and the academy to examine the way we train and license lawyers.
Cornell University law professor Joseph Margulies considers what it means to represent someone who is widely reviled—such as an alleged terrorist.
Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda discusses a report drafted by the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers finding that state regulation of lawyer advertising involves far more rules and complexity than is necessary. Rotunda points out that in light of the purpose of such rules, the report recommends states that have a single rule that prohibits false and misleading communications about a lawyer or the lawyer’s services.
Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda briefly describes the journey of women lawyers in America. Rotunda argues that while the direction has been generally forward, its progress is best described as “two steps forward, one step back.”
University of Illinois law professor and dean Vikram David Amar describes the problem of race-based peremptory challenges and argues that peremptory challenges be eliminated altogether on the grounds that we should not allow a person to be denied the right to serve on a jury for any reason that would not also suffice as a reason to deny that person the right to vote in an election.
Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda discusses a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit with respect to the disqualification of a lawyer from representing a client due to a conflict of interest. Rotunda cautions that the decision, if read broadly, could signal major risks for patent firms, but he argues that the decision need not be read so broadly.
Former counsel to the president John W. Dean laments the willingness—even enthusiasm—of Bill Cosby’s legal defense team to engage in ethically questionable tactics with respect to Cosby’s victims, including using the media to defame the victims.
Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda describes the apparent confusion in many jurisdictions over the phrase “moral turpitude” with respect to whether and when attorneys are subject to discipline. Rotunda points out that while many states have adopted the model rules (which, in their current form reject the prohibition against “illegal conduct involving moral turpitude”), these states’ courts still rely on the vague standard when applying the rules.
Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda discusses the various judicial opinions and ethics rules that govern whether, when, and to what extent lawyers may lie during negotiations.
UC Davis law professor Vikram David Amar continues his discussion of the low 2014 bar pass rates in California and throughout the country.
Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda comments on the purportedly random assignment of judges to cases in federal courts. Rotunda points out that particularly in the Ninth Circuit, which has been singled out as having highly unlikely results of “random” assignment, the process of case assignment is unnecessarily opaque; Rotunda argues for greater transparency to ensure fairness and justice.
U.C. Davis law professor Vikram David Amar comments on the lower bar pass rate for the July 2014 exam as compared to prior years. Amar discusses the response by the exam’s creators and how educators, practitioners, and others can use the incident to explore broader questions regarding the licensure requirements for the practice of law.
Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda comments on the pervasive problem of attorneys overbilling their clients.
Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda discusses the benefits of law firms designating in-house ethics counsel rather than relying on outside counsel for ethical issues that arise during the practice of law.