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Ethical Problems in the Practice of Law, Sixth Edition

  • Lisa G. Lerman
  • Philip G. Schrag
  • Robert Rubinson
Series / Aspen Casebook Series
Teaching Materials
Table of contents

This problem-based book reflects the authors’ broad range of teaching, clinical, and policy-making experience. The book’s carefully crafted ethical problems challenge students to engage in a deep analysis and participate in lively class discussion.

Features include:

  • Real-world problems, most based on actual cases, in which students are asked to step into the shoes of practicing lawyers to confront difficult ethical dilemmas that often arise in practice.
  • The law governing lawyers explained in an accessible question-and-answer format.
  • A succinct explanation of relevant Model Rules and other law governing lawyers, including examples from disciplinary and malpractice cases.
  • An opportunity for students, through specific examples, to reflect on their own conception of their professional roles on behalf of clients and their obligations to the legal system as a whole.
  • Lively presentation of materials, including cartoons, tables, and photos.
  • Clear and concise presentation through text and charts that summarize relevant law.


Unsolicited comments from adopters of Ethical Problems in the Practice of Law:


  • Professor Cynthia Batt, Stetson University College of Law, wrote that this book “has the BEST teacher’s manual of any text ever.”
  • Professor Jamie P. Werbel, Seton Hall University School of Law wrote: I wanted to drop you a line and let you know how fabulous your textbook is! I just started teaching Professional Responsibility this year, and your book has been invaluable to me as I guide my students through the course. My husband, also an attorney, made fun of me last semester as a few times I was reading it at night in bed! It really is just that enjoyable to read.


New to the 6th Edition:

  • A comprehensive revision of the entire text, adding material to continue to provide students with a wealth of opportunities to grapple with ethical issues.
  • Inclusion of recent developments in the field, including:
    • Discussion of the amendments to Model Rule 1.8 regarding gifts to clients:
    • The new ABA ethics opinion on what constitutes material adversity under Rule 1.9;
    • Developments in some states on permitting non-lawyers to provide some legal services;
    • Changes in some states’ rules on non-lawyer ownership of firms;
    • Expanded coverage of ethical issues arising from use of the Internet and social media, such as an ABA opinion on how lawyers may respond to online critiques of their services.
  • Material on recent events that have raised important issues of professional responsibility, especially discipline and sanctions for lawyers who made unfounded claims about the 2020 presidential election.
  • Updated empirical information about the practice of law, including the continuing concerns about diversity within the profession.


Benefits for Students:

  • Problem-based approach, often based on real-life cases, offers students a practical way to test their understanding
  • Graphics (cartoons, tables, photos) throughout, which make the presentation lively and engaging
  • Shocking examples of recent lawyer misconduct maintain student interest
  • A readable and enjoyable law school textbook


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About the authors
Lisa G. Lerman
Professor of Law
The Catholic University of America

Lisa G. Lermanb bis Professor Emerita of Law at The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law (CUA), where she was a full-time faculty member from 1987 until 2016. At CUA, Lerman served as Coordinator of Clinical Programs from 2006 until 2013. From 1996 until 2007, Lerman was Director of the Law and Public Policy Program. She attended Barnard College and NYU School of Law. She received an LL.M. in Advocacy from Georgetown University Law. Before joining the CUA faculty, Lerman was a staff attorney at the Center for Women Policy Studies, a Clinical Fellow at Antioch and Georgetown law schools, a law professor at West Virginia University, and an associate in a small law firm. She also taught at the law schools of American University and George Washington University. She started teaching professional responsibility in 1984. Professor Lerman is co- author of iLearning from Practice: A Professional Development Text for Legal Externs i(2d ed. West 2007). She has written dozens of articles about lawyers, law firms, the legal profession, and legal education, including, for example, iBlue- Chip Bilking: Regulation of Billing and Expense Fraud by Lawyers, i12 Geo. J. Leg. Ethics 205 (1999), and iLying to Clientsi, 138 U. Pa. L. Rev. 659 (1990). Lerman’s earlier writings focused on domestic violence law. Professor Lerman has served as an expert witness on legal ethics issues in numerous malpractice cases and lawyer disciplinary matters. She has written, lectured, and consulted on issues relating to legal ethics and legal education at scores of conferences and law schools in the United States and abroad. She was a consultant to the Administrative Conference of the United States and to the Academic Specialists program of the U.S. Information Agency. Lerman taught comparative legal ethics and taught in CUA’s American Law Program at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. She served as a faculty member with Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics. Professor Lerman served as chair of the planning committee for the ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility and as chair of the AALS section on Professional Responsibility. She was a member of the DC Bar Legal Ethics Committee as well as the AALS Standing Committee on Bar Admission and Lawyer Performance.

Philip G. Schrag
Delaney Family Professor of Public Interest Law
Georgetown University

Philip G. Schrag is the Delaney Family Professor of Public Interest Law at Georgetown University Law Center. He attended Harvard College and Yale Law School. Before he started a career in law teaching, he was Assistant Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., and in 1970 he became the first Consumer Advocate of the City of New York. A member of the founding generation of clinical law teachers, he developed clinics at Columbia Law School and the West Virginia University College of Law, as well as at Georgetown. During the administration of President Jimmy Carter, he was the Deputy General Counsel of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. At Georgetown, Professor Schrag directs the Center for Applied Legal Studies, an asylum and refugee clinic. He regularly teaches professional respon­sibility and has also taught consumer protection, federal income taxation, leg­islation, administrative law, and civil procedure. He has written 16 books and many articles on public interest law and legal education including, most recently, iBaby Jails: The Fight to End the Incarceration of Refugee Children in America i(University of California Press 2020). In 2007, he helped to persuade Congress to create the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which provides partial student loan forgiveness for graduates who work for 10 years in public inter­est jobs. He has been honored with the Association of American Law Schools’ Deborah L. Rhode award for advancing public service opportunities in law schools through scholarship, service, and leadership; its William Pincus award for outstanding contributions to clinical legal education; Lexis Nexis’ Daniel Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law; the Outstanding Law School Faculty Award of Equal Justice Works for leader­ship in nurturing a spirit of public service in legal education and beyond; and Georgetown University’s Presidential Distinguished Teacher Scholar Award. Professors Lerman and Schrag live in Arlington, Virginia. They have two adult children, Samuel Schrag Lerman and Sarah Lerman Schrag. Professor Schrag also is the father of David and Zachary Schrag.

Robert Rubinson

Robert Rubinson is Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law. He attended Columbia University, where he graduated summa cum laude, and NYU School of Law. He also taught for three years in the Lawyering Program at NYU. Before entering aca­demia, Professor Rubinson was an associate attorney at a large law firm in New York and a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society’s Brooklyn Office for the Aging. &At UB, Professor Rubinson was Director of Clinical Education from 2004- 2010 and 2012- 2016. He has received the President’s Faculty Award and the Award for Outstanding Teaching by a full- time faculty member. He has taught professional responsibility for more than 20 years and has written and spoken widely on the subject to academic and practitioner audiences both nationally and internationally. He also has served as Reporter for the Maryland Court of Appeals Ethics 2002 Committee. He has consulted with Japanese law professors on the development of clinical legal edu­cation in Japan and written about legal ethics in that country. A particular focus of his work has been on ethical issues relating to access to justice — an interest based on his experience as a lawyer both in a large firm and in a small legal ser­vices office. Professor Rubinson also specializes in alternative dispute resolution and especially mediation. He is co- author of iMediating Family Disputes: Theory and Practice i(LexisNexis 2015), now in its second edition, as well as many other arti­cles on the subject. He developed and is Co-director of UB’s Mediation Clinic for Families. His work has included exploring the confluence of legal ethics and mediation and the challenges of mediation programs serving low- income communities. One of his articles, iClient Counseling, Mediation, and Alternative Narratives of Dispute Resolutioni, 10 Clin. L Rev. 833 (2004), has been antholo­gized in a leading text used in law school clinical programs. Professor Rubinson is married to Dr. Randi E. Schwartz, a psychologist. He has two children, Stella and Leo.

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Sixth Edition
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Professional Responsibility
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