May 20, 2011
McGeorge's Ethics Across the Professions Initiative was in high gear in the spring semester. In addition to hosting a highly successful symposium on technology's effect on the practice of law, three nationally recognized speakers on ethics spoke on campus in forums sponsored by the Capital Center for Law & Policy.
Indiana University John Steele was the first visitor. A former hiring partner at a major law firm and legal ethics teacher at Stanford Law School and UC Berkeley, he examined the special ethical challenges facing Silicon Valley attorneys who deal with billion-dollar companies.
Richard Abel, a law professor emeritus at UCLA, discussed his new book, Lawyers on Trial, which presents the stories of 10 California attorneys who broke the rules and paid the price. Abel is recognized as the author of seminal works on the role of the lawyers in American society
The chair of the House of Representatives Office of Congressional Ethics, David Skaggs, provided a fascinating look at the inside workings of Congress where ethical controversies and scandals often make front-page news. Skaggs, a former six-term member of Congress, explained his independent office's role in assisting the House in carrying out its duties under the Discipline Clause of the Constitution.
The Ethics Across the Profession Initiative is made possible by a grant from the Sierra Health Foundation. McGeorge Professor Paul Paton, the director of the program, is one of the foremost authorities on legal ethics in North America. Chair of the Canadian Bar Association's National Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee, he was recently appointed as reporter to the ABA's Ethics 20/20 Commission.