For those among us who teach Professional Responsibility / Ethics courses as well as ADR, just a quick nod (or reminder nod) to the Dolan & Kennedy DC Bar Discipline case available here. The facts are not terribly complicated, although they are pretty horrifying. And the report and recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility is quite thorough in its treatment of the facts, the relevant Rules, and the standards one uses in assessing alleged violations of those rules. Honestly, it’s probably a week or two worth of material, all wrapped up in one case.
Even if you’re “only” teaching ADR, this case has some real lessons to offer. A putative class action? A referral to arbitration? Ambiguous or arguable settlement authority? Failure to inform clients about the case and about settlement implications? Settling a case without telling clients the terms of the settlement (a significant part of which were attorney fees) because the lawyer “believed disclosing the details to his client would put the settlement at risk”? And so on. Sprinkle in some Rule 1.8(f) (failure to obtain informed written consent of an aggregate settlement of claims for two or more clients) and Rule 8.4(c) (dishonest, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation).
It’s a good case, in at least one, cautionary-tale sense of “good”…