Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hagans on the Future of Litigation Ethics

Fred Hagans (a Houton, Texas trial lawyer) has published in 25 The Review of Litigation 747 (U. Tex. 2006) an article entitled The Future of Litigation Ethics.  Here is the journal's summary of the article:

Mr. Hagans elaborates upon the issues that were discussed at The Review of Litigation’s annual symposium, which took place on February 24, 2006. Mr. Hagans begins by discussing the central importance of ethical rules for those who hope to properly practice as a professional. He proceeds to write of his own perspective on the future of litigation ethics by looking at the current state of affairs; specifically the impact of the vanishing jury trial and the emergence of arbitration as an alternative. Mr. Hagans contends that arbitration has failed to become a more efficient and economic means of dispute resolution, and that consumers and taxpayers are being denied fundamental rights by the ubiquity of arbitration clauses—forced to sign away their traditional rights to pursue claims in the civil justice system. Mr. Hagans then offers a list of practical solutions that can be used by all lawyers hoping to better the system in which they practice as well as how to live by the ethical rules that are central to the profession of law. Finally, Mr. Hagans offers practical thoughts on how to be a better professional, how to be not only a litigator but a trial lawyer, and finally, advice on how to better mediate. Mr. Hagans concludes that litigation ethics are alive and well, and that their importance is essential in helping lawyers to understand that it is not only the results that matter, but also the process by which we get there.

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