Lawyers are regulated by moral, professional, and legal constraints in fulfilling their varied responsibilities as representatives of clients, officers of the legal system, and public citizens. This regulation goes by many names including "legal ethics," "professional responsibility," or the "law governing lawyers." Whatever the label, individual states, the American Bar Association, and other groups actively develop rules, standards, and regulations to assist lawyers in the discharge of their ethical obligations. The ideal of legal ethics, however, was forged from a traditional, adversarial model.
While the adversarial model remains, it has increasingly given way to alternatives. As the comment to Rule 2.4 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct now explicitly recognizes: "Alternative dispute resolution has become a substantial part of the civil justice system." At the core of many forms of ADR is an ideal of non-adversarial, participatory, creative problem solving. What happens when this vision collides with traditional notions of legal ethics?
This symposium examines the intersection of legal ethics and ADR. The opening panel presents a baseline, exploring the current standards and guidelines governing lawyers and ADR and assessing their adequacy. The mid-morning panel then looks to the future and discusses the potential for new ethical regulations better suited for ADR. In the afternoon, the presenters turn from the ideal to the practical. This panel focuses on suggestions for practitioners and third-party neutrals on how to avoid the pitfalls inherent in a world where legal ethics and alternative dispute resolution collide.
The Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution and The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law are privileged to host this symposium. We hope that you will join us in Columbus, Ohio, to participate in this stimulating event. All symposium papers will be published in Volume 21, Issue 1, of the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, scheduled for publication in the fall of 2005.