May 01, 2007

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When war stories made great CLE Last Tuesday, the 10th, I participated in a CLE program that was the exception to the rule that "war stories" are not good CLE. "War stories" are anecdotes about a trial or other experience in representing a client. Often, these stories, while entertaining, primarily serve to make the storyteller look good. They lack educational value. This program, "To Do Justice", was different. It was put together by Douglas Bates, III, a Centerville, TN, lawyer whose father, Douglas Bates, II, was defense counsel for the 40 defendants in the first American war crimes trial of Nazis after World War II. Joshua Greene, author of the book shown at the right, and producer of the acclaimed "Voices from the Holocaust" documentary, contacted Doug Bates on 9/11/2001 to ask him about his dad. Professor Greene had just finished reading the transcript of the first Dachau trial at the invitation of the widow of the prosecuting attorney, Bill Denson, and wanted to know what Doug knew of his father's role in that trial. Greene and Bates became friends, and Doug Bates conceived the idea of bringing Joshua Greene to Nashville for a CLE program built around the Dachau trial. Monday evening (the 9th) and Tuesday saw the fruition of that dream. On Monday, Joshua Greene showed a portion of the "Voices from the Holocaust" documentary and answered questions as part of a lecture series at Lipscomb University. On Tuesday, we had the CLE program. Professor Greene talked about the trials and Bill Denson's story....
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From Moral Partners to a Moral Firm A Google News Alert I have set for MCLE matters brought this Law.com article to my attention. From Moral Partners to a Moral Firm Gregory S. Gallopoulos Special to Law.com May 2, 2007 Here’s the link: http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1178010280159 The article deals with what law firms can learn from the struggles of accounting firms to maintain ethical awareness and action as the controlling metaphor and structure of the firm moves from a group of individual partners to an integrated enterprise. The author notes the long-observed effect where indivduals with personally high ethical standards can learn to behave in ways that transgress those standards within a group context. Thus, the “ethical standard” of a firm may be significantly less than the personal ethical standards of the members of the enterprise. Here’s the key paragraph for those involved in MCLE: “Second, the firm needs to establish a formal educational program to ensure that all attorneys fully understand the ethical standards to which they are expected to adhere by both the firm and the profession. Participation in the program should be mandatory. The best programs are customized to suit the particular needs of attorneys at various levels and in various practice areas. In setting up a program, a firm can draw on both internal and external resources. For example, a firm could ask its in-house counsel to conduct seminars on some issues while arranging for legal ethics experts from academia or government to present on other issues. As a side benefit, a firm's program can...

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