Category Archives: BLE Panels

Links to Symposium Scholarship

The articles produced in conjunction with New England Law Review’s symposium on Behavioral Legal Ethics are now available online.  Thanks to all for helping to make this event such a success:

 

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Upcoming Symposium: Behavioral Legal Ethics

I’m happy to announce that the New England Law Review‘s fall symposium on November 10th will focus on Behavioral Legal Ethics.  The symposium’s lead article, by Associate Dean Catherine Gage O’Grady  from The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, is entitled “A BEHAVIORAL APPROACH TO LAWYER MISTAKE AND APOLOGY.”  Response articles include:

  • Professor Donald Langevoort, LAWYERS, IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT AND THE FEAR OF FAILURE
  • Professors Nancy Sachs and Milton Regan, Jr., BEHAVIORAL ETHICS AND THE FOUR-COMPONENT MODEL OF MORAL JUDGMENT AND BEHAVIOR
  • Professor Wallace Mlyniec, LAWYERING PRACTICE: UNCOVERING UNCONSCIOUS INFLUENCES BEFORE RATHER THAN AFTER ERRORS OCCUR
  • Professor Tigran Eldred, MORAL COURAGE IN INDIGENT DEFENSE

Panelists at the symposium include Dean O’Grady; Professor Paul Tremblay (Clinical Professor of Law and Law School Fund Distinguished Scholar, Boston College Law School); Barbara Bowe, LICSW (Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers); and me.

Admission is free and open to the public.

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BLE and the Practicing Lawyer

Having recently returned from International Legal Ethics Conference VII, I was happy to see so much interest in the emerging field of Behavioral Legal Ethics (BLE).  The two BLE panels on which I participated were well attended.  Other panels also included discussions of BLE, including a fascinating discussion of how behavioral science is making its way into the education of South African lawyers.

I am also heartened to see that the field is expanding to include important discussions among legal practitioners.  For instance, Catherine O’Grady and I have produced this online CLE program with the Practising Law Institute that has been viewed by more than 800 lawyers (registration fee required).  As another example, I just came across this article in a recent edition of the Oregon State Bar Bulletin (the magazine for Oregon’s practicing lawyers) that lays out some of the fundamentals of BLE (citing many leading BLE scholars such as Jean Sternlight & Jennifer Robbennolt, Robert Prentice and Catherine O’Grady).  How great that BLE has started to take hold with those who need it most — lawyers who regularly struggle with the ethical dilemmas that arise in practice.

For anyone interested in BLE, it is an exciting time indeed!

ABA Conference on Professional Responsibility

ABACPR

For those attending the ABA’s National Conference on Professional Responsibility in Denver later this week, please join us for a panel discussion on Behavioral Legal Ethics (program here).  I am participating, along with Molly Wilson, Robert Prentice and Catherine O’GradyAndy Perlman, who was recently announced as the next Dean of Suffolk Law School, will moderate.  I will report back on the event next week.

Update:  06/4/15:  The ABA conference was excellent. Our BLE presentation followed a wonderful discussion, led by Stephen Pepper and John Barrett, and moderated by Lisa Lerman, about lawyer decision-making in Nazi Germany, which has been described as “the worst legal ethics disaster in the Western world.” Our panel on behavioral ethics focused on a more modern case of legal ethics, the Dewey & LeBoeuf debacle, which again is in the news because of the current trial of the firm’s leadership.  I understand that the materials from our presentation will soon be posted by the ABA, which I will link to here when available.  Thanks to all who helped make the panel discussion so enjoyable.

Update:  06/9/15:  The ABA has now posted the materials from the session here.

Update:  09/5/15:  The ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct, 31 Law. Man. Prof. Conduct 320, 06/03/2015, has a nice write-up of the program.  Alas, it is behind a pay wall, but is often available through law school libraries for those with access.

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ABA Panel on Behavioral Legal Ethics

mainThe ABA’s Business Law Section will be holding what promises to be an excellent panel on behavioral legal ethics at its annual meeting in Chicago on September 12, 2014. It looks great and is highly recommended.

Michael Herman, the program chair, has provided the following description:

The Road to Abilene, Temporary Blindness, Slippery Slopes, and Other Hazards to Ethical Behavior by Lawyers

Lawyers confront ethical challenges, such as potential conflicts of interest, on a daily basis. Our last program discussed the largely unconscious cognitive biases that, without our being aware of them, affect everyone, including lawyers. This program will explore what research in behavioral, social, and organizational psychology can teach us about how the dynamics of group and other organizational settings, including law firms, influence our ethical choices.

The panel of distinguished scholars and practitioners (including long-time Section friend Don Langevoort, of Georgetown Law Center, and leading behavioral ethics scholar Ann Tenbrunsel, of Notre Dame) will cover topics such as bounded ethicality, self-serving bias, framing, ethical fading, motivated blindness and incrementalism, using case studies, demonstrations, and video clips.

In addition, Dr. Larry Richard will be part of the panel. Dr. Richard, a psychologist and a lawyer, will speak to how lawyers in particular are subject to some of these influences. We will also be discussing two fact-based studies to give the audience a sense of how these concepts actually play out in particular circumstances.