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Release: Immediate
Media Contact: Nancy Slonim
Phone: 312/988-6132
Email: slonimn@staff.abanet.org
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Buried Bodies, Bad Apples and Law Firm Bullies: Lawyer Ethics Conference Deals With Tough Issues

CHICAGO, May 22, 2007—The 33rd National Conference on Professional Responsibility, May 30 to June 2 in Chicago, will confront tough issues of lawyer ethics, from duties of lawyers for killers who know where their clients have hidden their victims to the pitfalls of advising the marketers of what may be abusive tax shelters.  Its companion 23rd National Forum on Client Protection, June 1 and 2, will feature the profession’s initiatives to prevent lawyer misconduct, and remedies when preventive measures fail.

“This is the only program of its kind anywhere, bringing together the country’s leading legal scholars, jurists and specialists in the professional responsibility field,” said Lisa Lerman, chair of the conference planning committee. 

“The forum focuses on aggressive steps by the profession to head off client harm,” said Janet Marbley, chair of the forum planning committee.

Both events will convene in The Fairmont Chicago hotel.

New York lawyer Frank Armani was appointed with another lawyer to defend an accused murderer who told them where he had hidden the undiscovered bodies of teenage murder victims.  Their 1973 struggle to protect his confidences drew criminal and disciplinary complaints and death threats, and the issues of the case remain central to teaching legal ethics today.  In the conference program “The Buried Bodies Case:  Alive and Well after 30 years,” Armani joins legal ethicists Monroe Freedman and Thomas D. Morgan to examine the case’s impact on criminal defense law.

In “Are They Just Bad Apples:  Ethical Behavior in Organizational Settings,” professors of behavioral economics, psychiatry and business will examine social science research that suggests psychological forces lead honest people to make poor ethical decisions, and relate it to structuring administrative and compensation systems in legal organizations.  

Law firm partners who scream and throw things at people can have legal implications for their firms and other consequences for the profession.  “Law Firm Bullies:  What Makes Them Tick and How to Control Them,” will look at how firms should react to abusive members.

These are among a range of conference and forum segments addressing such topics as ethical pitfalls for lawyers advising the developers of abusive tax shelters, potential criminal responsibility of lawyers who hire private investigators who violate the law, ethics implications of an aging legal profession, enlisting law students to assist with lawyer discipline programs and others.

Full details of the conference are at http://www.abanet.org/cpr/events/prconf.html and complete information on the forum is at http://www.abanet.org/cpr/events/cp-programs.html.

With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law in a democratic society.


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