"Lawyering as if the Future Matters" Event Recording | Widener Law Commonwealth

This presentation featured Irma S. Russell considered what steps lawyers can take to become sustainability leaders. It does not focus on the specifics of the rules of lawyer conduct. It does not, for example, explore detailed rules relating to conflicts of interest, safekeeping client property, or selling a law practice although these are real rules.

Rather, the presentation focuses on the principles and duties that establish the system of lawyer regulation and the ability of lawyers to function as sustainability leaders while complying with these rules. It helps lawyers who want to integrate sustainable development into their practice by considering the relationship of the lawyer’s duty to clients with the lawyer’s duty to society.

Lawyers must protect their client’s legitimate interests. How to navigate these duties is an important challenge, which makes it important for lawyers who want to be leaders in sustainability to know what conduct laws and principles of ethical lawyering permit, require, and prohibit. Some lawyers argue that courts and bar associations should sanction or penalize lawyers who facilitate client practices that cause environmental harm or add to the cumulative effects of climate disruption. Some lawyers fear they lack the tools needed to serve sustainable development or that the duty to serve their clients’ interests prevents them from acting to protect society from the climate crisis.

The truth about legal ethics and sustainability resides in the space between these poles. This presentation will identify the principles of legal ethics that guide sustainability lawyers and lawyers who wish to become sustainability leaders.

Widener University Commonwealth Law School is the Pennsylvania capital’s only law school, with three specialized centers of legal scholarship through its Law & Government Institute, Environmental Law and Sustainability Center, and Business Advising Program. Widener Law Commonwealth offers an exceptional learning experience that is personal, practical, and professional. Visit commonwealthlaw.widener.edu for more information.
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