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Lawyers Crossing Lines


Lawyers Crossing Lines book jacket View Table of Contents and Introductory Material

Lawyers Crossing Lines

Ten Stories

Second Edition

by Michael L. Seigel, James L. Kelley

2010 $29.00 242 pp paper ISBN: 978-1-59460-684-7 LCCN 2009034811

Electronic Teacher's Materials available

Tags: Legal Profession, Professionalism/Law Practice

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Lawyers Crossing Lines is a collection of true stories about lawyers from all segments of the legal profession who transgressed ethical boundaries. Most of them ended up being sanctioned by their state Bar, sued for malpractice, prosecuted, or some combination of all three. All of the cases are rich in detail, many are bizarre, and in a few the attorney's conduct is so outrageous as to stretch the reader’s credulity. Each tale is followed by comments and questions designed to explore the issues in greater depth.

This diminutive but captivating volume is intended as a supplemental text for students in professional responsibility courses at American law schools. It can also be used as the foundation for an advanced seminar in ethics. It is based on the proposition that, although the rules of professional responsibility are, of course, of supreme importance, sometimes the study of them can be monotonous and dry. More important, students—none of whom have been in law practice and most of whom have never been out in the working world—often find it hard to believe that the rules can be so easily and egregiously broken. These real world scenarios bring the ethical quandaries faced in everyday legal practice to life.

The stories come from all segments of the legal profession and make fascinating and memorable reading. No other book on the market takes this narrative approach, making this an important and unique contribution to the field.

“Seigel has captured the essence of the pitfalls, moral short-comings, and missteps which lawyers may create for themselves during the course of a career. The stories contained in this work are compelling, instructive, and witty. I had the pleasure of working with Professor Seigel when he was second in command at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Mike led by example, and his message was clear—always take the high road and never short cut ethics. This is a lesson for lawyers, young and not-so-young, to live by.” — Paul Byron, Overchuck, Byron, Overchuck P.A.

“Students learn more from real life than they will ever learn from just reading cases and codes. This book provides an opportunity for students to learn the critical lessons of ethical practice by carefully examining situations where lawyers crossed the line. These are lessons that will stick with them forever.” — Laurie L. Levenson, Professor of Law, David W. Burcham Chair of Ethical Advocacy, Loyola Law School

“I use Lawyers Crossing Lines in a required first year course on professionalism. The stories make it possible for the students to see problems of ethics and professionalism from the perspectives of real lawyers dealing with real situations. They learn more from discussions about the stories than they could possibly learn from just studying abstract principles.” — Patrick E. Longan, Bootle Chair in Ethics and Professionalism, Walter F. George School of Law, Mercer University

“This book is a perfect supplement to the study of professional responsibility and should not be limited to use by students. Practitioners would be wise to read these stories and remind themselves of what could happen if they are not careful.” — Legal Information ALERT, on the first edition

“I believe this book would appeal to a wide audience: students, with and without a law background, practicing attorneys and anyone with an interest in ethical-legal issues. Kelley does an excellent job… Each story is a thought provoking narrative, guaranteed to entertain and educate.” Bimonthly Review of Law Books, on the first edition


Complimentary Copy RequestIf you are a professor teaching in this field you may request a complimentary copy.


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