Margaret is honored to be invited back to speak at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Transportation Research Board 59th Annual Workshop on Transportation Law on September 15, 2020. 

Speaking with attorney Fred Wagner and moderated by Bruce Smith, their panel – The Appearance of Impropriety: Its Continued Viability in Ethics Compliance details are below.

Date: 9/15/2020

Time: 03:15 PM – 04:15 PM

Session Description:

For years, professional responsibility courses in law schools around the country reminded aspiring lawyers that ‘even the appearance of impropriety’ was something to be avoided. Yes, one might technically be in compliance with a state’s Rules of Professional Conduct dealing with conflicts of interest, confidences, etc., but conduct should be avoided that created the slightest appearance of failing to live up to the standards to which members of the Bar should adhere. The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct have deleted the “appearance of impropriety” standard as a means of enforcing key provisions. But does the concept of the “appearance of impropriety” still live on? Is it an imprecise, but crucial notion for members of the Bar in understanding the full spectrum of a lawyer’s ethical behavior? Further, when understanding the lawyer’s full spectrum of ethical responsibilities, when advising the organizational client, should a lawyer advise on the social, political, ethical and reputational risks an organization may face. The rules allow for lawyers to provide such counsel. Should a lawyer do so?  If so, what are some practical approaches for a lawyer to take to be an effective counsel to the organization? What role does a lawyer play in facilitating an organization’s legal and ethical compliance? What role can a lawyer play in defining an organization’s strategic and tactical approaches to socially responsible business practices? Would playing such a role itself cause a conflict for an attorney?

This session will the evolution and modification of the ABA Model Rules on the appearance of impropriety; discuss scholarly interpretations of the term even the most casual fans of ‘Law and Order’ could most likely recite”; and will discuss the lawyer’s role in counseling a business beyond legal counsel and whether that may present a conflict of interest.

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