Diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”) have been very much on the minds of those in the legal academy and the legal profession. Although voluntary subscription to DEI values is essential to transformation, voluntary evolution has never proved sufficient on its own. Sources of positive law that foster or enforce DEI are numerous and widespread, and are touched or focused on in many law school courses. One emerging source of such law is the Rules of Professional Conduct, which govern the conduct of practicing lawyers not only in their workplaces and work lives, but in many aspects of their private lives as well. Model Rule 8.4(g) was added to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct by the American Bar Association in 2016. It is controversial, and thus far has been adopted in only a few states and territories. But many lawyers (and many legal academicians) don’t seem to realize that DEI has been woven into the Rules of Professional Conduct since their introduction in 1983, and most states have ethical norms regarding these issues enforced by professional discipline whether or not they have adopted the new Model Rule. This webinar will fit the ethical restrictions enforcing DEI into the broader legal background, compare existing ethical DEI provisions with the new Model Rule, and discuss the controversy surrounding Model Rule 8.4(g).
- The pre-existing legal background of antidiscrimination laws enforcing DEI
- The DEI provisions in the Rules of Professional Conduct predating Model Rule 8.4(g)
- How Model Rule 8.4(g) differs from provisions commonly found in states’ ethical rules
- The controversy surrounding the new Model Rule
- The focus of the controversy: First Amendment concerns
- Psychologically and sociologically, why all the controversy?
Join Nancy Rapoport (University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Reporter for the American College of Bankruptcy’s Commission on DEI), Bernie Burk (visitor, Penn State Law), and Veronica Finkelstein (supervising Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Pennsylvania and adjunct professor, Drexel and Rutgers law schools), authors of the new textbook Ethical Lawyering: A Guide for the Well-Intentioned (Wolters Kluwer Legal Education, Sept. 2021), as they discuss these issues.