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Professional Responsibility: Problems of Practice and the Profession, Eighth Edition

  • Nathan M. Crystal
  • Grace M. Giesel
Series / Aspen Casebook Series
Teaching Materials
Table of contents

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Professional Responsibility: Problems of Practice and the Profession, Eighth Edition, is known for its flexibility and adaptability to different teaching methods and student learning styles. The text is easily adaptable to a variety of teaching methods, including question and answer discussion of text and problems, role play, student presentations, guest speakers, and writing seminars. The book is structured to enable instructors to present the materials doctrinally or by area of practice. The extensive multifaceted problems provide instructors with a wide range of options for presenting the material. The authors have carefully crafted the text so that reading assignments are reasonable – typically 10-15 pages for a one-hour session and 20-25 pages for a two-hour session. The book offers three types of problems, each of which has a specific purpose in the student’s ethical education. The text and principal discussion problems are designed to help students develop the ability to make sound judgments for difficult questions of professional responsibility. Each chapter contains Rule Review questions that present multiple hypotheticals enabling students to understand the scope and limitations of important rules of professional conduct. Multiple-choice assessment questions at the end of each chapter with detailed answers help the students review major concepts in the chapter and prepare for the MPRE.

New to the Eighth Edition:
  • Length shortened by almost 200 pages, to focus on the most important ethical issues for two-hour courses, which are now the standard. A number of problems have been moved from the text to the website and are still available for professors who have used them in the past.
  • More in-depth discussion of the duty of confidentiality, including comparing the scope of the duty of confidentiality in New York, the District of Columbia, and California with ABA Model Rule 1.6; examining the concepts of use and disclosure; and adding analysis of the “possession exception” to the duty of confidentiality focusing on the lawyer’s decision to take possession of such evidence and the distinction between tangible criminal material and real incriminating evidence.
  • Coverage of a number of contemporary issues involving ethics and technology, including ethical propriety of a lawyer responding to on-line criticism and the ethical aspects of a lawyer’s use of artificial intelligence.
  • Additional material on the obligations of defense counsel and prosecutors, including defense counsel’s obligations when advising a client regarding a competency defense and new problem material on prosecutors’ ethical obligations under Rule 3.8 dealing with evidence of a wrongful conviction.
  • Revised material on delivery of legal services, including new material on removal of restrictions on the unauthorized practice of law, comments on legal services plans and delivery of legal services in criminal cases, and pro bono services offered by law firms.
  • Post-2020 ethical issues, including the application of the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege and issues of frivolous claims in litigation involving the 2020 Presidential election; new material on Justice Department investigation of “pattern and practice” investigations of a number of city police departments; and scrutiny of financial benefits received by Supreme Court Justices.
Benefits for instructors and students:
  • Realistic problems that develop students’ ability to make sound judgments.
  • Emphasis on guiding students to articulate a cogent philosophy of lawyering.
  • Innovative, flexible organization suited to a variety of courses and clinical programs.
    • Organized by major doctrinal concepts, such as confidentiality and conflicts of interest.
    • Offers alternative organization by area of practice.
    • Modular organization for professor choice.
  • Manageable length.
  • Extensive Teacher’s Manual suggests lessons, sample syllabi (for two- and three-hour classes), Q & A, and role-playing models.
  • Multiple-choice assessment questions and answers located at the end of each chapter to prepare students for the MPRE.
  • PowerPoint slides dealing with fundamental concepts and the basic problems presented in the book.
  • Essay questions with outlines of answers on the course website that instructors can use for class discussion or student review.
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About the authors
Nathan M. Crystal
University of South Carolina

Nathan Crystal holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School), Emory Law School (where he was editor-in-chief of the law review), and Harvard Law School. He is Distinguished Class of 1969 Professor of Professional Responsibility and Contract Law Emeritus at the University of South Carolina School of Law and Adjunct Professor of Professional Responsibility at NYU Law School, where he has taught for eight years. Professor Crystal is the author or coauthor of four books, three on legal ethics and one on contract law: ul type="disc" liPROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY – PROBLEMS OF PRACTICE AND THE PROFESSION (Aspen Law & Business 7th ed. 2020 with Grace M. Giesel)li liAN INTRODUCTION TO PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY (Aspen Law & Business 1998)li liANNOTATED SOUTH CAROLINA RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT (S.C. Bar 2020 ed.)li liPROBLEMS IN CONTRACT LAW: CASES AND MATERIALS (with Charles Knapp,& Harry G. Prince, Joshua M. Silverstein, and Danielle K. Hart (10suthsu&ed. 2022)li ul In addition to his books, Professor Crystal has published numerous articles in scholarly journals, including the Akron Law Review, Charleston Law Review, Fordham Law Review, Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Global Jurist, Illinois Law Review, International Litigation, Kansas Law Review, Kentucky Law Journal, Mercer Law Review, Mississippi College Law Review, Notre Dame Journal of Law Ethics and Public Policy, North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation, NYU Annual Survey of American Law, Opinio Juris in Comparitone, Penn State Law Review, Saint Mary’s Law Journal, Saint Louis Law Journal, South Carolina Law Review, South Carolina Journal of International Law & Business, Wake Forest Law Review, and Washington Law Review. For more than fifteen years he has authored a bimonthly column, "Ethics Watch,” for the South Carolina Lawyer. Professor Crystal lectures frequently on matters of professional ethics to national, regional, and local organizations, including the American Bar Association, the United States Justice Department, and the Practicing Law Institute. He has held visiting appointments and lectureships at Arkansas (Little Rock), Charleston School of Law, Florida State, Hastings, Indiana (Indianapolis), Luiss (Rome), Scuola Superiore Santa’Anna (Pisa), Tanjin (China), Suffolk, Sydney (Parsons Visiting Scholar). As a practicing lawyer, Mr. Crystal is the managing partner of Crystal & Giannoni-Crystal, LLC (, with offices in Atlanta; Charleston, SC; New York City; and Washington, DC.& The firm focuses in practice on professional ethics, international business, and data privacy.& Professor Crystal has served as an expert witness, ethics advisor, disciplinary defense counsel, and internal investigator in hundreds of cases involving lawyers and law firms in all major areas of practice.& He has been selected by his peers for inclusion in&iThe Best Lawyers in America&i© since 2015 in the fields of Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law.

Grace Giesel

Grace Giesel is the Bernard Flexner Professor and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. Professor Giesel has taught various subjects, including Professional Responsibility and Contracts, for over thirty years. A graduate of Yale, Professor Giesel earned her J.D. degree from Emory University School of Law where she was Managing Editor of the law review and a member of Order of the Coif. Professor Giesel has authored or coauthored two books: PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY – PROBLEMS OF PRACTICE AND THE PROFESSION (with Nathan M. Crystal (7suthsu ed. 2019). MASTERING PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY (2d ed. 2015). In addition, Professor Giesel was the reviser of Volume 15 (Contracts Contrary to Public Policy) of CORBIN ON CONTRACTS (2003). Professor Giesel has published many articles relating to issues of professional responsibility and contract law in various law reviews such as Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Wake Forest Law Review, Nevada Law Journal, Denver Law Review, and Seton Hall Law Review. She has also Chaired and been a member of the Ethics Committee of the Kentucky Bar Association. Professor Giesel is a frequently presents continuing legal education programs for the practicing bar.

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Eighth Edition
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Professional Responsibility
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