Johnson presents on Ethics for Transactional Lawyers

Christian Johnson, Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, presented a CLE on Ethics and Accounting for Lawyers to the Business Law Section of the Utah State Bar on Tuesday, May 20. He used the failure of Lincoln Savings and Loan as a case study on the kinds of ethical issues transactional lawyers can face. Johnson observed that transactional lawyers often face ethical quandaries and issues that are equally as problematic as those faced by litigators.  As part of the presentation, Johnson walked through the various Utah Rules of Professional Misconduct and their reach and impact for transactional lawyers such as 1.2(d) (“shall not counsel a client engage, or assist a client, to engage, in conduct the client knows is criminal or fraudulent”), 4.1 (“a lawyer shall not knowingly . . . make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person”); 1.6 (confidentiality of information); and 1.16 (declining or terminating representation). Johnson also counseled that lawyers can expose to themselves to additional ethical obligations when working in regulated industries such as banking, insurance and utilities.