Law Library News
November 17, 2003
Sarah Hollingsworth, Editor
The SBA has briefed us on your concerns about the Law Library. Some of you find that the Law Library is not always a good place to study and learn. Thanks to your SBA representatives for their efforts to consolidate your concerns and work with us toward constructive solutions.
Based on our meeting last week, the Law Library will start an information campaign aimed at reminding all library users that they need to “preserve an atmosphere suited to serious study and legal research.”
We will place signs at the Library entrance and on Library tables.
We have ordered more computers, including three for the Bogle & Gates Student Lounge. We will limit the time that other computers can be used for purposes other than legal research.
We have contacted the fraternities and sororities to ask for their cooperation.
In the meantime, here are some reminders:
We in the Law Library are proud of our collection and our facility – but much more importantly, we are pleased to be able to serve the Law School, the University, and the wider community. As law students, you are very important to us, and we want to support you in your studies. We look forward to continued discussions with the SBA as well as with many of you individually.
Professor Penny A. Hazelton
STICKY WICKETS, QUESTIONABLE PRACTICES, AND OTHER
CONUNDRUMS OF LEGAL ETHICS
---Lee Sims, Reference Librarian
Recently a law student asked me to recommend a book of forms so that he could draft a fee contract in which he bargained away his own liability for professional malpractice. My answer was to direct him to The Law of Lawyering by Geoffrey Hazard, a two-volume set found at KF306 .H33 2001 in the Reference Area. He asked why I didn’t recommend a treatise or formbook on contracts. My response, of course, was that this was an ethical matter.
Since I began practicing law in 1979 I have always followed one overarching rule about ethical behavior: If you have to ask yourself if what you propose to do is unethical, it probably is. The problem is that the practice of law has become so complex and the nuances of what is now considered ethical and unethical behavior have now become so subtle that it never hurts (and is often wise) to do a little research to make sure that the next letter for which you must sign is not coming from bar counsel.
Fortunately, there are many good sources for researching whether a particular course of conduct is ethical or not. For a quick overview you might consult Professional Responsibility in a Nutshell by Robert Aronson (KF306.Z9 A76 1991 at Reference Area). Yes, this author is none other than the UW School of Law's Professor Aronson, recipient of the 2003 Philip A. Trautman Professor of the Year award. We have four copies of Professor Aronson's book in the Reference Area, and when you review it, you’ll see why we have so many.
Two good recent treatments are the massive ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct (KF305.A8 A23 1984 at Reference Area), a loose-leaf treatise that is updated continuously, and Legal Ethics:The Lawyer's Deskbook on Professional Responsibility by Ronald Rotunda (KF306 .R68 2000 at Reference Area). While I was still practicing I represented two lawyers who had gotten themselves into trouble, and at that time, I found Lawyer's Law: Procedural, Malpractice & Disciplinary Issues by L. Ray Patterson to be a particularly useful treatise. Find it at KF306 .P37 1998 in the Classified Stacks. (Yeah, okay, I used an earlier (1984) edition---I guess that shows how old I am.)
There are also specialty books on ethical behavior for lawyers who practice in such diverse areas as mediation, family law, business law, litigation, criminal defense, federal tax, government service, and estate planning. There are other books here at Gallagher Law Library on the subject of legal ethics with titles like The Good Lawyer (KF306.A5 G66 1983 at Classified Stacks), The Honest Hour (KF316 .R67 1996 at Classified Stacks), Dealing with the SOB Litigator (KF9656.A7 D42 1989 at Classified Stacks), Betrayed Profession (KF300 .L56 1994 at Classified Stacks), and my own personal favorite, Bengoshi Rinri No Hikakuhōteki Kenkyū (K123 .B45 1986 at Classified Stacks). Okay, I confess I have no idea what that means, but I'm pretty certain it has something to do with legal ethics in Japan.
The easiest way to find all of these (and more) is to do a subject search in MARIAN, the Law Library’s online catalog, at http://marian.law.washington.edu/. Use the subject heading, legal ethics -- united states (329 hits), or try a keyword search using the words legal and ethics (762 hits). If you want to limit your search to a more manageable number, that's easy, too---just tack on another keyword. For example, run a keyword search using the words legal and ethics and japan. This search pulls up 18 hits, 17 of which are decidedly not written in English, including my personal favorite noted above.
And the answer to the student’s question? Such a provision in a fee contract would be a violation of the disciplinary regulations. See Professor Aronson's book at pages 89-90.
If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?