Have you ever wondered when a litigator’s actions could go beyond zealous advocacy for a client to constitute frivolous claims or knowingly false statements of law or material fact? Or, what kinds of actions could violate an attorney’s oath to support the Constitution of the United States?
Please join us when a distinguished panel explores these and related important questions as applied to the pending ethics complaint against Texas Attorney General Kenneth Paxton contending his Supreme Court lawsuit to overturn the presidential election and his urging January 6 marchers to overturn the Electoral College results violated Texas’s ethics rules.
The complaint was filed by sixteen prominent Texas lawyers - including four former Presidents of the Texas State Bar - and the national organization, Lawyers Defending American Democracy.
NOTE: This course has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of Texas Committee on MCLE in the amount of 1.5 credit hours, of which 1.5 credit hours will apply to legal ethics/professional responsibility credit.
- Charles Silver (Moderator): Roy W. and Eugenia C. McDonald Chair in Civil Procedure & Professor of Government, University of Texas at Austin School of Law
- Pablo Javier Almaguer: Member, Supreme Court of Texas Grievance Oversight Committee; former Chair, State Bar of Texas Board of Directors
- Gershon (Gary) Ratner: Co-Founder, Lawyers Defending American Democracy; former Associate General Counsel for Litigation, U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Rebecca Roiphe: Trustee Professor of Law, New York Law School
- Jordan Steiker: Judge Robert M. Parker Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law
Pablo J. Almaguer is Pro Bono Counsel for one of the largest public interest organizations in the nation. He obtained his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Texas - Pan American in 1994 and his law degree from Chicago-Kent School of Law in 1997. In 2017 he was conferred an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Education from Wheelock College for his advocacy on behalf of women, children and families. In 2008 Pablo became the first legal services attorney to serve on the Board of Directors of the State Bar of Texas when he was appointed to a three-year term as a Minority Director. In 2010 a majority of the Board of Directors elected him to become the Chair of the Board. He also served on the Commission for Lawyer Discipline which oversees the State Bar of Texas’ disciplinary system and currently serves as a Trustee on the Board of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and was appointed to a three-year term on the Supreme Court of Texas’ Grievance Oversight Committee.
Gershon (Gary) Ratner is the Co-Founder of Lawyers Defending American Democracy and the principal author of the ethics complaint that is the topic of this program, as well as a principal author of the 2020 ethics complaint against then-U.S. Attorney General William Barr. He is also the Founder and Executive Director of Citizens for Effective Schools. Gary was formerly the Associate General Counsel for Litigation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. While at HUD, he won a Presidential Rank Award for having developed “one of [the] finest law offices in the [federal] Government.” Gary formerly served as: Deputy Executive Secretary, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare; General Counsel and Director of Litigation, National Veterans Legal Services Program; and Associate Director for Litigation, Greater Boston Legal Services. He’s the author of seminal law review articles on environmental justice, public schools’ legal duty to educate effectively, and how to restructure the No Child Left Behind Act.
Rebecca Roiphe is the Trustee Professor of Law and Co-Dean for Faculty Development at New York Law School where she teaches criminal law and professional responsibility. She runs the Institute for Professional Ethics and is a co-director of the Criminal Justice Institute at NYLS. Professor Roiphe’s academic work focuses on the history of the legal profession, as well as prosecutorial and government lawyer ethics. Her opinion pieces on prosecution, legal ethics, and politics have appeared in Slate, the New York Review of Books Daily, Politico, and the Washington Post, among other popular press. She is a legal news contributor for CBS News and also appears as an expert on MSNBC and CNN. She is currently a member of the New York State Bar’s Committee on the Standards of Attorney Conduct and the liaison from the American Association of Law Schools to the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility.
Professor Jordan Steiker is the Judge Robert M. Parker Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law. He teaches constitutional law, criminal law, and death penalty law, and is Co-Director of the law school's Capital Punishment Center. He has written extensively on constitutional law, federal habeas corpus, and the death penalty. Some of his recent publications include: Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment (Belknap/Harvard University Press, 2016, with Carol Steiker), winner of the Hamilton Book Award; The American Death Penalty and the (In)Visibility of Race, 82 U. Chi L. Rev 243 (2015) (with Carol Steiker); The Death Penalty from a Consequentialist Perspective, 47 Tex. Tech. L. Rev. 211 (2014). Along with his sister/co-author Professor Carol Steiker, he co-authored the report to the American Law Institute prompting the withdrawal of the death penalty provisions of the Model Penal Code. He has served as a visiting professor to Harvard Law School several times, most recently as the Touroff-Glueck Visiting Professor of Law and Psychiatry, Fall, 2018.
Charles Silver holds the Roy W. and Eugenia C. McDonald Endowed Chair in Civil Procedure at the School of Law of the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches courses on civil litigation, legal ethics, and health care law and policy. He has published more than 100 writings on topics that include legal and medical ethics, civil procedure, class actions and other aggregate litigations, insurance, medical malpractice, and health care policy. In 2009, the Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association awarded him the Robert B. McKay Award for scholarship on tort and insurance law. Professor Silver was an Associate Reporter on the American Law Institute’s Principles of the Law of Aggregate Litigation (2010). His books, all coauthored, include Medical Malpractice Litigation: How It Works; Why Tort Reform Hasn’t Helped (Cato Inst. 2021), Overcharged: Why Americans Pay Too Much for Health Care (Cato Inst. 2018), and Professional Responsibilities of Insurance Defense Counsel (LexisNexis 2012-2017). Professor Silver is currently working on a book entitled Legal Ethics and Agency Law: A Neglected Relationship.