J. Donald and Va Lena Scarpelli Curran Faculty Chair in Legal Ethics and Professionalism
Assistant: Tricia Leahy-Charles
- J.D. Rutgers Law School – Newark; Research Editor, Rutgers Law Review
- B.A. Rutgers College; Honors, Phi Beta Kappa
Kevin Michels examines legal ethics, professionalism and liability questions in his teaching and research. Prior to joining academia, he practiced corporation and business law for nearly twenty years, and served as counsel, consultant and expert on matters involving attorney ethics and liability. His scholarship includes:
- Our Hidden Value, 53 University of Louisville Law Review (forthcoming 2014) (arguing that the hidden value of lawyers lies in their capacity for normative reasoning, which enables them to engage with clients on the deepest questions in the representation, to lead others, and to effect change as social and business innovators).
- The Internal Gatekeeper and the Equally Guilty Client: In Pari Delicto Reconsidered, 4 St. Mary’s Journal of Legal Malpractice and Ethics 218 (2014) (Invited article and symposium presentation) (develops a new standard to ensure that the corporate attorney will serve as an “internal” gatekeeper—charged not only with protecting third parties against wrongful client behavior, but protecting the corporate client from harms caused by the wrongful behavior of the corporation’s own executives).
- What Conflicts Can Be Waived? A Unified Understanding of Competence and Consent, 65 Rutgers Law Review 109 (2012) (developing a new legal standard by which to identify attorney conflicts of interest that clients should be allowed to waive under the Rules of Professional Conduct).
- Lawyer Independence: From Ideal to Viable Legal Standard, 61 Case Western Reserve Law Review 85 (2010) (arguing that lawyer independence in counseling clients, which is expressly required by the attorney-ethics rules and largely overlooked in the Restatement and case law, can challenge our core assumptions about client autonomy and reduce corporate wrongdoing).
- Internal Corporate Investigations and the Truth, 40 Seton Hall Law Review 83 (2010) (looking to corporation law, legal ethics and philosophy to identify the core truth commitments of counsel who conduct internal corporate investigations).
- Third Party Negligence Claims Against Counsel: A Proposed Unified Liability Standard, 22 Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 143 (2009) (proposing a new standard by which to analyze claims against counsel based on the relation between tort theory and attorney-ethics rules).
He is also the author of New Jersey Attorney Ethics (Gann 2013), a comprehensive treatise on the law of lawyering in New Jersey, now in its twelfth edition, which has been cited in the published opinions of state and federal courts in New Jersey.
Professor Michels received his B.A. with honors from Rutgers College, where he was a Henry Rutgers Scholar and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and he received his J.D. from Rutgers Law School-Newark, where he was Research Editor of the Rutgers Law Review. He served as law clerk for Justice Robert L. Clifford of the New Jersey Supreme Court, for the 1986-87 term, and began practice as an associate in the corporate law group of what is now the Day Pitney firm, and later founded and served as director of Michels & Hockenjos, P.C. He served on the New Jersey Supreme Court Commission on the Rules of Professional Conduct, which advised the Court on the 2004 revision of the attorney-ethics rules. He has lectured on legal ethics for the New Jersey Judicial College, the New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association, the New Jersey Institute on Continuing Legal Education, New Jersey’s in-house corporation counsel, bar associations, and in a variety of other settings. He is included in the current edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law. He was recently elected to the American Law Institute. Professor Michels comes to Gonzaga from The College of New Jersey, where he is a tenured Associate Professor and the recipient of two teaching awards.
He served on the Washington State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics for the 2013-24 term.
- Legal Ethics
- Business Associations