The Ethics of Deception

SKU: ETH6400

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About This Course

As lawyers, the most profound ethical issues we face generally arise not so much where the choice is between “good” and “bad,” or “right” and “wrong,” but, instead, where the issue compels us to choose between two (or sometimes more) competing “goods” so that by choosing the one we necessarily abandon the other. Indeed, as we see in this program, the core ethical values of our profession force these decisions because they impose fundamentally conflicting duties upon us, and compel us, therefore, to make choices between them. In this meta-ethical calculus, the rules of the profession often provide very little, if any, guidance.

The choices we must make arise in many different forms in real world scenarios. The description and discussion of some illustrative cases open and provide a context for – but do not really answer – the central issue for discussion: how much, if at all, does a lawyer’s duty to the zealous pursuit of his client’s cause allow the lawyer to engage in any form of subterfuge or deception? In short, how far is too far in the vigorous pursuit of a client’s cause? How do the rules of professional conduct bear on the issue? Are there any sources of ethical values to which we may turn for guidance and solutions? Does the law itself, at least in its methodology, provide a model for working through the issue? The answers to these questions – and many more which naturally arise here – will be surprising, informative and entertaining.

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