One of my most consulted ethics resources, both for my ethics practice and Ethics Alarms, is the Legal Ethics Forum, created and operated by attorney John Steele with able assistance from some of the best legal ethics experts and scholars in the nation. John has posted the Forum’s Top Ten Legal Ethics Stories of 2012, which you can, and should, read about in detail here. These are John’s headlines: (Ethics Alarms, which is not written for an exclusively legal audience, has covered six of them, #4, #5, #6, #7, #9 (as well as this gem), and #10.)
1. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) expands its application of constitutional standards in the context of critical pre-trial processes such as plea bargaining and discovery.
2. The ABA’s 20/20 Commission proposed a number of 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.
7. In about 300 jurisdictions, debt collectors used the local District Attorney’s stationary to send out legal warnings and demand payments.
8. There was continued fall-out 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 ATF’s “Fast and Furious” operation.
Once again, I want to express my thanks and admiration to John and his merry band of legal ethics fanatics for their hard work, their diligent coverage of a difficult issue, their sharp analysis, and their clear and entertaining writing.