Legal ethics


The “adversary system” is the fundamental concept behind American jurisprudence. It is assumed by our system that when you have 2 people on opposite sides who are trying to win, the party that has the truth on its side will ultimately prevail. Of course, as we all know, it doesn’t always work that way; but that’s our system.

Many Continental European systems use the “civil law” method. Under that system, all the lawyers in the case are responsible to help in the “search for the truth.” If one lawyer has information that would help the other side or comes to agree with the other side’s view, he or she has the right and/or duty to say so. Which system do you think is more effective and why? Also, do you see any constitutional problems with applying the civil law system to the U.S.?

For this assignment, in addition to answering the above questions, I would like you to find at least one case (which can be done most easily from Lexis) in which the limits of the adversary system were discussed or tested. The subject matter of the case itself can be anything, but the focus should be whether an attorney or firm’s responsibility to a client or court outweighs some other “greater” or “moral” responsibility. For this case, please briefly discuss the ethical issue and how the court resolved it.

The writer needs to be familiar with law and have a lexis account to prove he has the proper background.
when information/evidence is discovered that shows a client’s guilt, it does not mean in a Civil Law country that the lawyer will no longer represent him anymore. The difference in that system (from the US) is that they must share and disclose to the opposing counsel all info, so the privilege that representation in the US offers really isn’t there in the Civil law method. It is less about defending and more about finding the truth. I hope that answers what you were getting at with your question.

So you can understand the first assignment a bit more, I’ll offer a breakdown of how to approach it and form the search:

The first Ethics assignment is a bit different than most as it actually wants a regular essay for the first part and also asks you your own opinion (which is unheard of in law!)
First you are asked to write an essay on the two systems of law: Adversary System (USA) and Civil Law (European) and which you think is better. In order to do this you will write a few paragraphs which outline the two systems and describe them so that you can then include which one, based on that information, you believe to be better. Info to include in this first part of the assignment is the role of judges; role of attorneys, rights of the parties, privilege, etc. Compare and contrast the two systems and how they differ. You can get this information from legal journals found via LEXIS or internet websites (which is also different than usual.) Some internet sites to look at are:

After you give your opinion as to which you feel is better and why, you then need to include in the essay any constitutional conflicts that would arise if we tried to apply civil law here in the United States with our existing Constitution. Look at the amendments which give us our individual rights, such as the right to due process, counsel, etc. Be specific as to which amendments would be violated and why.

The second part of the assignment asks you to use LEXIS in order to find at least one case that discuss our Adversary System. The case should be about a moral/ethical dilemma where it needed to be determined if the duty to a client outweighed a “moral” responsibility. You are looking for a US case where the duty to a client based on the Adversary method here in the US is being tested and evaluated. Try this LEXIS search:

SEARCH tab: Choose: Cases, U.S.
Next screen: Check box for: Federal & State Cases, combined
Next screen: In the NATURAL LANGUAGE SEARCH BOX place the terms “Ethical obligation” “assistance of counsel” (exactly as I have them including the quotes.)

Once you find a case and read through it, for the second part of the assignment present the case. This means you write in a narrative form what the case was about, the issue, what the problem was, what the moral dilemma was and how the court decided and why.
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