Murer Professionalism Series debates ethics

Melinda Rosales-Byerly (’03), and Hon. John McAdams (’95)
Melinda Rosales-Byerly (’03), and Hon. John McAdams (’95)

The NIU College of Law continued its first-year student professionalism series Feb. 13 with a panel discussion titled “Ethical Perspectives from the Trenches.”

NIU Law professor David Taylor moderated the panel, which featured Judge John McAdams (’95), 23rd Judicial Circuit; James A. Doppke Jr., Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission; Mike Denning (’02), Heyl Royster Voelker & Allen; and Melinda Rosales-Byerly (’03), Office of the Cook County Public Defender.

This ethics panel focused on common ethical issues facing students and young lawyers.

Previous lectures in this year’s series have covered issues including confidentiality, defending unpopular clients, and providing morally and legally sound advice to a client. This panel would deal in ethical questions that law students would be likely to face on a regular basis once they begin their professional careers.

The panelists offered their candid responses based on their varied perspectives and experiences. They covered important and all-too-common issues regarding unauthorized practice of law (including giving legal advice to friends and family), confidentiality of client information, candor to the court and professional attire.

Cherilyn G. Murer
Cherilyn G. Murer

Overall, the panel emphasized the important of establishing (and keeping) a positive professional reputation in the community.

Following the discussion, students went on to “Continue the Conversation” during dinner with the panelists, professors and alumni. Students were able to further discuss issues raised in the presentation, which are are often complex and difficult to resolve.

The NIU Law Murer Lecture on Professionalism is funded through the generosity of Cherilyn (’78) and Michael Murer, whose dedication to professionalism is infused throughout the series.

Now in its second year, the program is intended to integrate professionalism into the law school curriculum, in response to the growing recognition that law students (and lawyers) need more guidance in professionalism to further the highest values of the profession.

The series consists of lectures featuring nationally recognized legal practitioners and scholars discussing cutting-edge issues.

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