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What does it mean to be an ethical lawyer? What are the specific issues and contexts in which ethical issues arise for lawyers? How do lawyers recognize and solve ethical problems? These are the central questions behind this exciting workshop designed to develop and foster ethical decision-making by individual lawyers. The challenge of acting ethically is not so much what lawyers know – most lawyers are aware of the ethical rules that govern their conduct. Rather, the challenge of acting ethically lies with lawyers’ ability to integrate that knowledge into action given the circumstances in which they practice. Our experienced faculty go beyond the usual recitation of codified duties and rules to explore, interactively, the factors that facilitate or undermine ethical decision-making by lawyers, and to approach ethical behaviour as a function of reasoning and problem solving.
By working through scenarios designed to provoke ethical analysis and help solve problems that arise in day to day practice, participants will learn how to identify and correct behaviour that leads to poor outcomes for clients and for the public. And there are no stilted and contrived stories about lawyer Smith and client Jones - examples and case studies are based on specific and very real problems that have arisen in the Canadian (and international) profession. Issues for analysis include the lawyer-client relationship, the limits of zealous advocacy, lawyer-client confidence, dealing with witnesses, conflicts of interest, the lawyer’s relationship with the media and more. A panel of noted local practitioners helps bring alive some of the greyest ethical areas, and fuel participant discussion.
Paul Paton is a Professor of Law and Director of the Ethics Across the Professions Initiative of the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. He became a full-time professor in 2004. Professor Paton spent over a decade in practice, first in the commercial litigation group of Davies, Ward & Beck in Toronto, then as Justice and Social Policy Advisor to the Premier of Ontario, and for six years as in-house counsel to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. He teaches professional responsibility, corporate governance, business associations, legal ethics and the legal profession, and ethics for government and public lawyers, and was twice named a Fellow of the U.S. National Institute on Teaching Ethics and Professionalism. Professor Paton’s research focuses on ethics in corporate contexts, legal ethics and lawyer regulation in comparative perspective, and on corporate governance matters. He has been recognized nationally in both the United States and Canada for his contributions to debates on the future of the legal profession and is a frequent media commentator on the role of lawyers in corporate scandal. His publications include articles in the Fordham Law Review (Symposium Edition on Ethics), the ABA Journal of the Professional Lawyer (Canons of Ethics Celebration Edition), the Canadian Bar Review (Special Edition on Ethics), the Stanford Journal of Law, Business & Finance, and other law reviews and journals. He is immediate past Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee.
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