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Resources

Legal Ethics Curriculum

June 28, 2021

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As we stated in our Democracy Commitment, Lawyers Defending American Democracy is committed to providing tools and resources to help the legal community take action to protect democracy and the rule of law. This ethics curriculum is another one of those tools to aid lawyers and law professors interested in teaching legal ethics.

In particular, the ethical duties of lawyers who engage in activities relating to election challenges is a subject of growing importance, and a topic worthy of consideration for inclusion in a legal ethics syllabus. Accordingly, LDAD is pleased to offer a proposed Curriculum for Legal Ethics Classes on the Duties of Lawyers Involved in Challenges to Elections, developed to help legal ethics professors and adjuncts teach this subject to their students.
The proposed Curriculum focuses on four lawyers who participated in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election – Rudolph Giuliani, Jeffrey Clark, Kenneth Chesebro and John Eastman, all of whom were the subject of legal ethics complaints filed by LDAD. The materials anticipate two to four hours of class time devoted to this subject and include:

  • Recommended student reading assignments;
  • Questions for students addressing whether these lawyers violated their ethical duties and suggested answers;
  • Separate chronologies for each lawyer with links to relevant documents;
  • Readings relating to the actions of lawyers who refused to accede to pressure to overturn the results of the election; and
  • Selected American Bar Association Model Rules pertinent to the ethical duties of lawyers in the context of elections.

We hope that this Curriculum and related materials will prove to be a useful tool for those who teach legal ethics. Our goal is to help students gain a greater understanding of ways the Model Rules should be interpreted to protect the profession and the rule of law from efforts to undermine a free and fair election. Teaching students about the ethical violations of lawyers who attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election will provide students with an invaluable framework for evaluating the ethical conduct of lawyers involved in the 2024 elections and beyond.

LDAD is grateful to Stephen H. Marcus, Esq. for his dedicated work in preparing this Curriculum. Attorney Marcus is the founder of the Marcus Firm, PLLC, in Washington DC, and an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches legal ethics. He is also a member of the DC Bar Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee.

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 Curriculum 

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Appendix A

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Appendix B

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