Monday, February 4, 2013

Top Ethics Stories of 2012

We highlight the annual list prepared by John Steele at the Legal Ethics Forum, identifying the top legal ethics stories of 2012 nationwide. Steele’s top stories:

  1. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) expanded its application of constitutional standards in the context of critical pre-trial processes in criminal matters, such as plea bargaining and discovery.
  2. The ABA’s 20/20 Commission proposed several amendments to the Model Rules and related policies in August, and the House of Delegates approved all of them.
  3. The outside ownership of law firms took a big step forward in the UK but stalled in the USA.
  4. Politics continued to swirl on the issue of recusal by SCOTUS justices.
  5. Our legal education system saw even more turmoil this year as it adjusts to the new normal.
  6. Ethics issues kept arising in the criminal prosecution of George Zimmerman, the defendant in the Trayvon Martin murder case.
  7. In about 300 jurisdictions, debt collectors used the local District Attorney’s stationery to send out legal warnings and demand payments.
  8. There was continued fallout from the implosion of the Dewey law firm.
  9. Prosecutorial misconduct was in the headlines.

10.  Congress cited the Attorney General, Eric Holder, for contempt after the assertion of privilege as to documents related to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) “Fast and Furious” operation.

See Mr. Steele’s article for his comments and links on these stories, as well as more than a dozen “honorable mentions.”

Thanks to the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.


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