February 13, 2019

The Office of Career and Professional Development and the Council on Professional Conduct hosted "Beyond Professional Responsibility: A Transition to Practice Panel" on February 11, 2019. Panelists included McGavock D. "Mac" Reed Jr. '15, staff attorney with Schumack Law Firm, and Alyssa B. King '15, Associate with K&L Gates. CUA Law Professor A.G. Harmon moderated the event.

The panelists provided an overview of the D.C. disciplinary system including: the institution, investigation and sanctioning process, its different tiers and levels of severity, and the role of appellate review.

They also discussed law firm management and supervision techniques such as internal accountability networks, conflicts management and screening, as well as billing and communication issues in both firm and government practice.

In regards to conduct and practice management techniques, the panelists emphasized the importance of asking about an ethical issue even if you are a little unsure. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of every jurisdiction you practice in. Some rules are similar but differ in key ways, and they are not always intuitive," Reed said.

Finally, the panelists spoke about how technology has made things easier but has also created grey areas and ethical dangers for the practicing lawyer, particularly with regard to meta data. The panelists ended by discussing what a lawyer should do if they receive a bar complaint: open it, lawyer up, take it seriously, and keep an active malpractice policy while remaining cognizant of its constraints.

They also provided a list of resources for students:

Lawyers Helping Lawyers

DC Practice Management Advisory Services

Lawyer Assistance Program

DC Ethics Hotline

Following the panel, students were invited to a reception in the atrium where they had the opportunity to speak with the panelists.