Watchdogs or Lap Dogs? The Ethical Challenges Facing Government Lawyers

About the October 14, 2021 Convocation

In today’s highly charged political climate, government lawyers at all levels face unprecedented ethical challenges. Whether they are employed by elected officials with agendas or government agencies untainted by politics, government lawyers often must make decisions that reflect a clash between what the ethical rules require and their superiors demand. In fact, there is a growing consensus that the rules are frequently unclear and in any event need revision, but there is no agreement as to how.

Under the auspices of the Chief Judge of the State of New York, the New York State Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law and the Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts, this Convocation brought together some of the most outstanding professionals, with decades of experience as government lawyers --  from a former U.S. Attorney General and two former U.S. Solicitors General to lawyers for local entities such as school boards and academics who have examined the issues in depth -- to address these critical issues.

 

Agenda

The virtual Convocation was held virtually on Thursday October 14, 2021, 11:00a.m - 4:00pm ET. The Convocation began with a conversation between Paul Clement, former Solicitor General and Neal Katyal, former Acting Solicitor General. This was followed by three panel discussions by distinguished and experienced lawyers and academics.

Agenda

Recordings of the Convocation will be posted in the Agenda in the near future.

If you would like to be added to the JIPL mailing list or have questions, email: professionalism@nycourts.gov.

 

Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Credits

A total of 3.0 CLE ethics and professionalism credits are available for New York State attorneys depending on whether you attended all three Panel presentations and timely submit the required proof of attendance. You may seek fewer credits for attendance of fewer Panels.

To request CLE credits:

  1. Listen and record the CLE code announced during the Panel presentation.
  2. Fill out the Affirmation of Attendance:
    • Fill-in the unique CLE code for each session you attended.
    • Sign and date the Affirmation of Attendance.
    • Make a copy.
  3. Email the Affirmation of Attendance, along with any Panel Evaluations, to professionalism@nycourts.gov on or before Thursday October 28, 2021 with the subject line "CLE." Late requests for CLE will not be entertained.

The New York State Judicial Institute will email you a certificate of attendance indicating your earned CLE credit within 60 days.

CLE Forms:

 

Disclaimer

This Convocation provided a general overview and discussion of the ethical challenges facing government lawyers. None of the statements made here were made on behalf of the Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law, the Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts, or the New York State Unified Court System. Further, none of the statements made during the Convocation constituted legal advice by any of the presenters.

 

Acknowledgements

The New York State Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law and the Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts extend their deep appreciation to Dean Hon. Kathie Davidson, New York State Judicial Institute, for providing continuing legal education credits for this Convocation.

Additionally, sincere gratitude and appreciation is offered to the members of the 2021 Convocation Planning Committee:

  • John Q. Barrett, Professor of Law, St. John's University School of Law
  • Michael A. Cardozo, Partner, Proskauer, Rose
  • William E. Craco, Assistant General Counsel, Johnson & Johnson
  • Hon. Randall T. Eng, of Counsel, Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C.
  • Stephen Gillers, Elihu Root Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
  • Bruce Green, Louis Stein Chair of Law, Director, Stein Center, Fordham University School of Law
  • Henry M. Greenberg, Chair of the Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York's Courts
  • John H Gross, Partner, Ingerman Smith, LLP
  • Rochelle Klempner, Counsel, Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law
  • Hon. Jenny Rivera, Associate Judge, New York State Court of Appeals
  • Michael A. Simons, Dean, John V. Brennan Professor of Law and Ethics, St. John's University School of Law
  • Paul C. Saunders, Chair, Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law
  • W. Bradley WendelEdwin H. Woodruff Professor of Law, Cornell Law School
  • Catherine O'Hagan Wolfe, Vice-Chair, Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law