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About the Book
The practice of environmental law can present a seemingly endless series of ethical dilemmas. The decisions that need to be made in these situations often result in high-stakes choices for the lawyer, as serious issues of public health and safety are common in many environmental controversies. Issues of Legal Ethics in the Practice of Environmental Law provides an in-depth guide to issues that raise significant concerns in an environmental practice and describes practices and alternatives that will serve the purposes of the lawyer, the client, and the administration of justice.
The author, Irma S. Russell, advocates the "precautionary principle" in addressing ethics issues most likely to arise in an environmental practice and shows the course of action that will help avoid liability or other negative consequences. She encourages a proactive approach to these situations, and her book assists lawyers in steering clear of serious problems by anticipating and analyzing difficult issues before urgent or complex ethical problems arise.
In discussing these issues, the book examines judicial decisions, formal and informal ABA Opinions, opinions of state advisory committees or committees on professional responsibility, the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct (Model Rules). When relevant, it also considers provisions of the ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility (Model Code), the American Law Institute's Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers, and the revisions of the Model Rules as amended in February 2002.
The book draws on key environmental law cases, and numerous citations point the way to further reading or research. Chapters address the most important ethical concerns for a lawyer in environmental practice, including basic and special conflicts concerns, the lawyer-client relationship, confidentiality, duties to nonclients, working with consultants and the media, advertising and fees, and withdrawing from a case. Typical of the many issues raised and answered in this book are questions such as:
Is it ethical to set up meetings to educate and solicit residents as plaintiffs in a toxic tort case?
Can a lawyer ethically oppose siting a hazardous waste site?
May a lawyer agree in a settlement to bring no similar actions against the defendant?
When a lawyer for a corporate defendant discovers environmental violations when working on a case, can this information be disclosed?
Does attorney-client privilege attach to reports from environmental consultants?
What action should a lawyer take if he or she becomes convinced that the client's position is legally or morally wrong?