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University of Kentucky

Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Professional ethics

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Making Stuff Up, Richard H. Underwood Jul 2010

Making Stuff Up, Richard H. Underwood

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

Beginning with an article in this Journal almost thirty years ago, Professor Underwood continues to research and write about legal ethics and litigation. In this Commentary, he offers a witty look at several cases where, in his opinion, the judge allowed improper arguments to the jury.


Expecting Too Much And Too Little Of Lawyers, Eugene R. Gaetke Jan 2006

Expecting Too Much And Too Little Of Lawyers, Eugene R. Gaetke

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

The regulation of lawyers' behavior remains a controversial topic. Over the past hundred years, the organized bar has engaged in a number of efforts to generate rules governing lawyers' conduct. Still, prominent lawyers and jurists, the public media, and legal scholars perceive an ongoing decline in the profession's ethics.

Bar leaders tend to respond to the problem by calling for greater "professionalism" among practicing lawyers. Drawing on professional images from earlier times, they urge lawyers to look beyond the rules and to be more virtuous, selfless, independent of clients, and dedicated to justice.

A number of commentators go further ...


The Ethical Obligation Of Transactional Lawyer To Act As Gatekeepers, Rutheford B. Campbell Jr., Eugene R. Gaetke Oct 2003

The Ethical Obligation Of Transactional Lawyer To Act As Gatekeepers, Rutheford B. Campbell Jr., Eugene R. Gaetke

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

Recent examples of managerial misconduct at major corporations have called into question the adequacy of the gatekeeper role provided by transactional lawyers representing corporations. That role is governed by Model Rule 1.13(b), which obligates the lawyer for a corporation to take remedial action if the lawyer knows that corporate managers are engaged in actions that amount to a "violation of a legal obligation" to the corporation or that are unlawful and likely to result in substantial injury to the corporation. In addition, Model Rule 1.2(d) forbids a lawyer from lending assistance to any action by corporate ...


Administrative Adjudication In Kentucky: Ethics And Unauthorized Practice Considerations, Richard H. Underwood Jan 2002

Administrative Adjudication In Kentucky: Ethics And Unauthorized Practice Considerations, Richard H. Underwood

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

This article is an extended version of a presentation I made at a training course for hearing officers sponsored by the Office of the Attorney General, Division of Administrative Hearings. In my original presentation, I was asked to focus on the ethics of the administrative adjudicator. I was asked to answer some specific questions, which I will include here for the reader's benefit. In this more complete treatment, I would also like to discuss the ethics of lawyers and other representatives appearing before administrative agencies.

The Kentucky Courts had begun to "judicialize" the administrative hearing process in the early ...


Renewed Introspection And The Legal Profession, Eugene R. Gaetke Jan 1999

Renewed Introspection And The Legal Profession, Eugene R. Gaetke

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

As the twentieth century draws to a close, the legal profession again immersed in a process of self-assessment, reflection, and reform. Operating on several fronts, various constituent elements of the bar have recently completed or have underway significant projects relating to the law of lawyering.

Two efforts stand out in particular. For more than a decade, the American Law Institute has labored in the production of a new Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers, and the organization stands now on the brink of that monumental work's publication. Equally significant, the American Bar Association has again undertaken a comprehensive review ...


A Proposal To Require Lawyers To Disclose Information About Procedural Matters, William H. Fortune Jan 1999

A Proposal To Require Lawyers To Disclose Information About Procedural Matters, William H. Fortune

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

In the absence of a rule clearly requiring disclosure, a lawyer is obligated not to disclose information which is adverse to the interests of a client. However, judges should be able to expect lawyers to disclose information about procedural matters. This Article argues that Model Rule of Professional Conduct 3.3 should be amended to require disclosure of information about procedural matters. Part I describes the events in Potter v. Eli Lilly & Co., a case involving a secret settlement related to Prozac. Part II makes the argument for a rule requiring disclosure of procedural information. Part III describes how such ...


The Professional And The Liar, Richard H. Underwood Jan 1999

The Professional And The Liar, Richard H. Underwood

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

Many individuals in society think that all lawyers are liars. Some think lawyers are allowed to lie. Regrettably, some American lawyers apparently think so too. In the United States there has been, and continues to be, a troubling lack of professional consensus when it comes to litigating a case. Indeed, lawyers who are neither corrupt nor insensitive have been accused of arguing that the elicitation of false testimony, and the use of it, is a professional responsibility. Fairness also calls for some acknowledgment that even the most cunning, zealous, and successful of trial lawyers have agonized over such moral choices ...


The Role Of Ethics And Unauthorized Practice Opinions In Regulating The Practice Of Law In Kentucky, William H. Fortune Jan 1998

The Role Of Ethics And Unauthorized Practice Opinions In Regulating The Practice Of Law In Kentucky, William H. Fortune

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

The purpose of this article is to discuss the role of ethics and unauthorized practice opinions in regulating the practice of law, with suggestions for clarification and improvement.

The Kentucky Bench and Bar, the quarterly journal of the Kentucky Bar Association ("KBA"), prints "Advisory Ethics Opinions" and "Unauthorized Practice Opinions" over the signatures of the respective chairs of the Ethics and Unauthorized Practice of Law ("UPL") Committees. This article describes: 1) how ethics and unauthorized practice opinions are generated; 2) the legal effect of the opinions; 3) the relationship of ethics opinions to attorney discipline; 4) the Board of Bar ...


Kentucky Law Survey: Professional Responsibility, William H. Fortune Jan 1998

Kentucky Law Survey: Professional Responsibility, William H. Fortune

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

This article is a survey of recent Kentucky ethics cases and Kentucky Bar Association ethics opinions. The cases and opinions selected are those of general application but special interest.


Risk Management For Lawyers, William H. Fortune, Dulaney O’Roark Jul 1994

Risk Management For Lawyers, William H. Fortune, Dulaney O’Roark

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

Lawyers are under siege. We have become objects of scorn, ridicule, and occasional hatred. If you take your child to the Stephen Spielberg movie Jurassic Park, be prepared for the cheers when the cloned Tyrannosaurus Rex gobbles the lawyer—not a bad guy at all—cowering in the outhouse. In San Francisco a client burst into a California law firm and killed eight and wounded six persons before taking his own life. In response, the president of the California bar linked lawyer-bashing to hate crimes and prevailed on the Miller Brewing Company to withdraw a television commercial depicting a "lawyer-roping ...


Money Laundering And Lawyers, Eugene R. Gaetke, Sarah N. Welling Jan 1992

Money Laundering And Lawyers, Eugene R. Gaetke, Sarah N. Welling

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

The federal government has recently enacted money laundering laws to track and discourage the use of money generated by crime. Because some of that money is used to pay legal fees, the laws have a direct impact on lawyers. The laws increase the risk of prosecution for lawyers, inhibit some methods of fee payment, and make some cases less attractive financially. Generally, the laws make law practice more complicated and risky.

The laws have been criticized for their impact on criminal defense lawyers. Critics have raised three broad objections. The first objection is constitutional. Critics have also objected to the ...


Part-Time Prosecutors And Conflicts Of Interest: A Survey And Some Proposals, Richard H. Underwood Jan 1992

Part-Time Prosecutors And Conflicts Of Interest: A Survey And Some Proposals, Richard H. Underwood

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

For many jurisdictions, the need for part-time prosecutors is a reality that will continue into the foreseeable future. The daunting task of balancing a private practice with prosecutorial duties is made all the more difficult by the lack of a coherent set of guidelines for minimizing the impact of conflicts of interest. What is needed is a set of guidelines flexible enough to permit attorneys to balance the part-time prosecutor's dual practice yet concrete enough to protect the system and its participants from conflicts of interest. Of prime importance in establishing any such system is the need for a ...


Kentucky's New Rules Of Professional Conduct For Lawyers, Eugene R. Gaetke Jan 1990

Kentucky's New Rules Of Professional Conduct For Lawyers, Eugene R. Gaetke

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

On July 12, 1989, the Kentucky Supreme Court adopted its own version of the American Bar Association's 1983 Model Rules of Professional Conduct as the body of disciplinary law applicable to lawyers practicing in the state. These new rules constitute a major improvement in the state's law of legal ethics. Their adoption should be considered a victory for Kentucky lawyers and, more importantly, a victory for the people of the state, the ultimate beneficiaries of the regulation of the legal profession.

As with most victories, the adoption of the new rules was not unequivocally positive. Kentucky's version ...


Lawyers As Officers Of The Court, Eugene R. Gaetke Jan 1989

Lawyers As Officers Of The Court, Eugene R. Gaetke

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

Lawyers like to refer to themselves as officers of the court. Careful analysis of the role of the lawyer within the adversarial legal system reveals the characterization to be vacuous and unduly self-laudatory. It confuses lawyers and misleads the public. The profession, therefore, should either stop using the officer of the court characterization or give meaning to it. This Article proposes certain modifications of the existing rules of professional responsibility that would bring lawyers' actual obligations more in line with those suggested by the label of officer of the court.


Why Kentucky Should Adopt The Aba's Model Rules Of Professional Conduct, Eugene R. Gaetke Jan 1986

Why Kentucky Should Adopt The Aba's Model Rules Of Professional Conduct, Eugene R. Gaetke

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

In 1983, after six years of drafting and lively debate, the American Bar Association adopted the Model Rules of Professional Conduct as its most recent statement of the ethical norms of the legal profession. Shortly thereafter the ABA forwarded the rules to the states for consideration and possible adoption as binding ethical principles. As of this writing, a number of states have adopted the Model Rules, in full or in substantial form, and several more have proposals for such adoption pending before their supreme courts

The Kentucky Supreme Court presently awaits the state bar association's recommendation regarding the Model ...


Taking And Pursuing A Case: Some Observations Regarding "Legal Ethics" And Attorney Accountability, Richard H. Underwood Jan 1985

Taking And Pursuing A Case: Some Observations Regarding "Legal Ethics" And Attorney Accountability, Richard H. Underwood

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

This Article addresses some of the potential liabilities that may arise from an attorney's decision to decline, refer, undertake, continue or discontinue the prosecution of a civil action. This Article suggests that counsel's obligations to his or her client, adversary, and fellow members of the bar, as well as to the judiciary and the justice system, can be balanced without subjecting attorneys to liability. This balance can be attained, however, only if potential problems are spotted and minimal precautions are taken.


Ethics: Professionalism, Craft, And Failure, James R. Elkins Jan 1985

Ethics: Professionalism, Craft, And Failure, James R. Elkins

Kentucky Law Journal

No abstract provided.


Adversary Ethics: More Dirty Tricks, Richard H. Underwood Oct 1982

Adversary Ethics: More Dirty Tricks, Richard H. Underwood

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

In this article the author provides a primer on the more common forms of cheating employed by trial lawyers. Another purpose is to suggest that there are antidotes that may be administered to curb these abuses, assuming that trial attorneys are alert enough to invoke them, and trial judges are willing to apply them.


The Doctor And His Lawyer: Conflicts Of Interest, Richard H. Underwood Apr 1982

The Doctor And His Lawyer: Conflicts Of Interest, Richard H. Underwood

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

This Article will not survey and catalog all available cases dealing with the "insurance counsel's tightrope." Instead, it will focus on the identification and resolution of conflicts of interest that may arise at various stages of the litigation of a medical malpractice action in which a lawyer has been retained to represent the interests of both the physician policy-holder and his insurance carrier. Many of the problems examined are applicable to all insurance defense litigation, and the combination of large claims and complex issues presented in medical malpractice cases, together with the distrust of lawyers shared by many doctors ...


Solicitation And The Uncertain Status Of The Code Of Professional Responsibility In Kentucky, Eugene R. Gaetke Jan 1982

Solicitation And The Uncertain Status Of The Code Of Professional Responsibility In Kentucky, Eugene R. Gaetke

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

In 1969 the Kentucky Supreme Court adopted the American Bar Association's Code of Professional Responsibility as the disciplinary rules binding upon attorneys practicing in the state. The Court adopted the Code as an apparent attempt to provide the Kentucky bench and bar the certainty and guidance offered by a codification of the frequently subjective and occasionally nebulous body of law known as legal ethics. The Court used particular language in its rule adopting the Code, however, which renders uncertain the precise status of the Code in Kentucky. As a result, a conscientious practitioner in Kentucky cannot confidently look to ...


Kentucky Law Survey: Professional Responsibility, Eugene R. Gaetke, Rebecca G. Casey Jan 1982

Kentucky Law Survey: Professional Responsibility, Eugene R. Gaetke, Rebecca G. Casey

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

In the face of persistent criticism of the legal profession, from within as well as without, the Kentucky Supreme Court exhibits a certain degree of ambivalence toward issues of professional responsibility. This ambivalence manifests itself in two ways.

First, the Court's treatment of different categories of professional misconduct seems at times unjustifiably inconsistent. The Court reacts to certain misconduct in an almost uniformly harsh manner, evincing the attitude of a strict disciplinarian for the practicing bar. Occasionally, however, the Court responds to various other kinds of equally gross misconduct with apparently undue leniency. In such cases the Court seems ...