On April 16th, Gonzaga Law School hosted the Clarke Family Legal Ethics and Professionalism continuing legal education program and awarded the Clarke Prize to two current GU law students. The program was attended by over 115 Gonzaga law alumni in person and by another 75 alumni who watched a live broadcast.
Focusing On Current Ethics Challenges
The CLE was devoted to four topics: attorney duties to nonclients; the lawyer’s ethical challenges in counseling Washington clients on marijuana-related matters; the limited license legal technician proposals; and the challenges presented by the lying client. After the program was complete, Justice Stephens described it as “one of the most engaging and topical programs I have ever been involved in. What a great success for its first year!” Professor Michels noted that “The format made the program compelling. It was not a lecture; it was a lively discussion among the panel and our amazing GU alumni about some very challenging ethical issues.”
An Esteemed Panel
The panelists were Justice Debra Stephens of the Washington Supreme Court; Genevieve Mann, Esq., Managing Attorney at the Unemployment Law Project in Spokane and a faculty member in the Gonzaga Law School University Legal Clinic; Bill Etter, Esq., a prominent area practitioner and Gonzaga Law alumnus; Gonzaga Law Professor Brooks Holland; and Professor Kevin Michels, the J. Donald and Va Lena Scarpelli Curran Faculty Chair in Legal Ethics and Professionalism at Gonzaga, who moderated the program.
Awarding the Clarke Legal Writing Competition Prize
At the conclusion of the program, the law school announced the winners of the Clarke Prize in Legal Ethics and Professionalism, a writing competition for Gonzaga Law School students. Earlier in the year, Gonzaga Law alumni assisted in framing the competition question by submitting ethical issues they encountered in their practice. At the CLE program, the panel and alumni shared in discussion of the ethics problem addressed by the students in the writing competition. The first place winner was Kathleen Shircliff, a 3L student, and the second place winner was Ashley Lane, a 2L student. The first place winner was awarded $5,000, and second place was awarded $1,000, making this one of the largest prizes for law school student legal ethics competitions in the United States.