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PLG 301: Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Course Description

This course will focus on the philosophical and practical issues, guidelines, and problems in legal ethics. Students will develop a basic understanding of the professional codes of conduct and the laws governing the ethical behavior of legal professionals. Specific areas to be covered will include: unauthorized practice of law, conflicts of interest, confidentiality and privilege, proper handling of client funds, referral fees and fee splitting arrangements, retainer agreements and billing, attorney/firm advertising rules, disciplinary procedures, and malpractice. (3 credits)

Prerequisites

  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
  • ENG 102: English Composition 2

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand where regulatory authority lies as to Lawyers and Paralegals
  2. Have mastered the sanctions and remedies which are available for misconduct
  3. Be able to explain economic and political factors which affected definitions of the practice of Law
  4. Comprehend the difference between the ethical precept and the evidentiary rules applicable to confidentiality
  5. Have the ability to clearly illustrate analytical reasoning in discussing complex situations which have conflicts of interest
  6. Be able to at least summarize the limits on marketing legal services as set forth in the seminal Bates case in Chapter 6 of the Textbook
  7. Understand financial aspects of Legal practice, to include, Billing, Setting Fees, Accounting for client funds, segregation of funds. Have detailed knowledge of the Missouri v. Jenkins case (the only major U.S. Supreme Court case involving Paralegals)
  8. Demonstrate knowledge of the elements which contribute to legal competence for Paralegals
  9. End the course with the discovery of interesting and challenging current issues arising in the rapidly evolving work of the Paralegal.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

Assignment(s)Weight

Discussions (Weeks 1-7)

35%

Weekly written assignments (Weeks 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7)

30%

Midterm Exam (Week 4)

10%

Final Exam (Week 8)

25%

Total

100%

Required Textbooks

(Available through Charter Oak's online bookstore)

  • Cannon, Therese. Ethics and Professional Responsibility for Paralegals. 7th ed. New York: Aspen Publishers, 2014. ISBN-13: 9781454831365

Additional Resources

  • Current issues which arise during the course will be added for consideration by students and appropriate websites will be provided.

Course Schedule

WeekSLOsReadings and ExercisesAssignment(s)

1

1, 2

Topic: Regulation of Lawyers and Paralegals

  • Read Chapters 1 and 2
  • Assignments:
    • Brief Mussellman case (p. 34-36)
    • Questions 1, 3, and 4 (p. 7)
    • Questions 2, 3, 4, and 5 (p. 37)
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Read lecture
  • Participate in discussions
  • Submit answers to assigned questions
  • Submit case brief

2

3

Topic: Unauthorized Practice of Law

  • Read Chapter 3
  • Assignments:
    • Brief Florida Bar v. Furman case (p. 91-92)
    • Questions 4, 5, and 13 (p. 74)
    • Questions 1, 2, and 4 (p. 88)
  • Read assigned chapter
  • Read lecture
  • Participate in discussions
  • Submit answers to assigned questions.
  • Submit case brief

3

4, 5

Topic: Confidentiality and Conflicts of Interest

  • Read Chapters 4 and 5
  • Assignments:
    • Read Chief Disciplinary Counsel v. Zelotes and submit 2-4 paragraph essay on your thoughts of the case
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Read lecture
  • Participate in discussions
  • Read recent CT case and submit 2-4 paragraph essay

4

1-6

Topic: Advertising and Solicitation / Midterm Exam

  • Read Chapter 6
  • Read assigned chapter
  • Read lecture
  • Participate in discussions
  • Complete Midterm Exam
Midterm Exam
Chapters 1 - 6
SLOs 1 - 6

5

7

Topic: Fees and Client Funds

  • Read Chapter 7
  • Assignments:
    • Brief Missouri v. Jenkins case (p. 334-340)
    • Questions 5, 8, 9, 14, and 19 (p. 319-320)
  • Read assigned chapter
  • Read lecture
  • Participate in discussions
  • Submit answers to assigned questions
  • Submit case brief

6

8

Topic: Competence

  • Read Chapter 8
  • Assignments:
    • Brief De Vaux case (p. 397-399)
    • Questions 1, 2, 3, 9, 15, and 20 (p. 391-392)
  • Read assigned chapter
  • Read lecture
  • Participate in discussions
  • Submit answers to assigned questions
  • Submit case brief

7

9

Topic: Professionalism

  • Read Chapter 10
  • Assignments:
    • Questions 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, and 17 (p. 501)
  • Read assigned chapter
  • Participate in discussions
  • Submit answers to assigned questions.
  • Prepare for Final Exam
8

Final Exam
Chapters 1 - 8, 10
SLOs - All

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.