Firm attorney Dan Guttman is speaking this Thursday, February 28th, 9:30 – 11:00am at the Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences, sharing his expertise in energy and environment in his lecture, “China’s evolving environmental governance and challenges – perspectives of one outsider.”
“The panelists that we have set up are some really fascinating people who have a lot of experience. I think [they’ll] bring a broad knowledge base to the panel, and hopefully we will be able to interact: That’s what we’re planning for our panel, is to have an interactive discussion about ethics,” remarks Traci L. Buschner, a Founding Partner at Guttman, Buschner and Brooks PLLC, who will be moderating the panel on ethics issues in qui tam matters at this year’s annual Qui Tam Conference.
The Federal Bar Association’s Qui Tam Conference on February 28 and March 1, 2019 is sure to provide practitioners with a wealth of valuable information in the ever-changing area of False Claims Act-related litigation. Register here for the Qui Tam Conference being held in Washington, D.C. at the FHI 360 Conference Center.
The structure of the FCA, which deputizes private citizens to represent the public interest, creates many ethical and legal issues. As a consequence, all lawyers that participate in FCA cases – whether they represent the government, relators or white-collar criminal defendants – have unique ethics and professional responsibility factors to consider when investigating, pursuing, defending, and settling these cases.
Our distinguished panelists will provide practical insights with regard to successfully litigating FCA cases. Moderator Traci L. Buschner will be joined by Kathleen Clark (Professor, Washington University School of Law), Precious M. Gittens (Partner, Hooper Lundy & Bookman PC), and David Wiseman (Senior Trial Counsel, Commercial Litigation, U.S. Department of Justice) to discuss ethical issues that may arise in qui tam cases.
Practice makes perfect: Attendees of the Qui Tam Conference will have a unique opportunity to study and learn about ethics issues as panelists present a fact pattern that involves problems for the relator, for the defense, and for the government.
What ethical concerns or legal consequences exist when a relator gathers documents and other evidence from an employer? What is the relationship between whistleblower laws and attorney-client privilege? Does the duty of confidentiality trump whistleblower rights? What is the tension between an attorney’s ethical duty of confidentiality and the government’s interest in encouraging whistleblowers to disclose unlawful conduct? How does an attorney pursue and defend FCA cases effectively while avoiding ethical dilemmas? Attendees may receive helpful tips and strategies on these and other ethics items.
Join the Federal Bar Association’s Qui Tam Section as it provides fresh analysis on the rapidly changing landscape of FCA enforcement. This two-day conference will feature experienced FCA litigators from a variety of perspectives who will dive into advanced topics and discuss the latest developments and cases pertaining to the FCA. Take this opportunity to interact with leading practitioners in the field while earning CLE credit and enjoying multiple networking events. We invite you to sign up for the Qui Tam Conference today at www.fedbar.org/quitam19.
Click here to hear from R. Scott Oswald (chair of the Qui Tam Section of the FBA) and moderator Traci L. Buschner on what to expect from this ethics panel.
Stacy Slotnick, Esq. holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She performs a broad range of duties as an entertainment lawyer, including drafting and negotiating contracts; addressing and litigating trademark, copyright, patent, and other IP issues; and directing the strategy and implementation of public relations, blogging, and social media campaigns.
GBB partner Traci Buschner will be moderating a panel on Ethics at this year’s Federal Bar Association Qui Tam Conference. In this video, she previews the panel in an interview with Scott Oswald, chair of the Qui Tam Section of the Federal Bar Association. Watch the video or read the transcript here https://www.employmentlawgroup.com/in-the-news/articles/qui-tam-2019-panel-preview-ethics/.
by Reuben Guttman
American law schools are in trouble. I represent whistleblowers and ferret-out fraud for a living; I sense that something is very wrong in the world of legal education and a mere scan of cyberspace validates some of my concerns.
Start with Twitter and internet pop up ads. These are the cyber-bazaars where degree programs are hawked; and this degree advertising is no longer just the province of for-profit colleges looking to make a buck off students who can snag US Government-backed loans.
Law schools affiliated with seemingly reputable universities are taking to the internet to advertise degree programs that do not come close to enabling the practice of law.
Once thought of as specialized degrees for law graduates entering a technical area or students contemplating academia, LLMs are now being sold by the fistful to foreign students who will pay full freight.
To expand their output, US law schools are making many of these opportunities available online while waiving testing requirements to incentivize the flow of applications. And to service the new crop of students, many law schools are resorting to adjunct or contract faculty, leaving tenured faculty to concentrate on research and selected teaching. At the end of the day, students seeking a quality education from a branded institution are getting something akin to the second tier product of an outlet store.
What is driving all this is undoubtedly the need to grab the cash necessary to compete for US News rankings. And why is there a need for cash? It is simple, with the US News focus on JD programs, law schools need to recruit students with high GPAs and LSATs, which are the currency to get the rankings; and it is the scholarship money that lures the students to the classroom. The spend on students — too many of whom aren’t even in financial need — is something akin to the baseball free agent market.
Unfortunately, the truly top law schools are most likely to get the students with the deepest potential. This leaves lower-tiered schools left to bid for those students whose claim to accomplishment is statistics; indeed statistics without regard to college major, the rigor of the undergraduate institution, or the challenges that the student had to overcome in making it through college.
The truth is that too many law schools are turning themselves upside down and inside out to meet the criteria set by a for-profit magazine that calls itself US News but which actually no longer reports the news.
Placed in context, we live in an era where we relish competition and the data that comes with it. Our nation’s law deans are participating in a competition that is as obsessive to them as realty TV is to the millions of Americans who tuned into “The Apprentice.” The problem is that, with this rating chase, more than a few law schools are turning themselves into academic Ponzi schemes. Money brought in from these newfangled degree endeavors and online programs are being channeled to buy JD candidates with the “right stats.”
The system now favors well-heeled applicants with the financial backing to take LSAT review courses and who have never had to work through college, leaving them time to concentrate on course work. It discriminates against those who may be first in their family to go to college, worked through school, and scrounged together the dollars necessary for a college education. And it is a system that punishes the student who endeavored to push their intellect to the edge with challenging classes; perhaps including those in math and science.
Step back and think about it; our entire system of legal education and how schools award scholarship money is being crafted by ratings profiteers. Placed in perspective, we now have a President who was elected because a TV network anointed him the god of business management and 63 million voters were led to believe it to be true. And how is that going for us?
I could be wrong about this and so I have checked my concerns with colleagues who are law deans, law school administrators, or professors. In my informal outreach I could not find a single member of legal academia who said something positive about the US News rankings. The problem, of course, is that I have failed to find anyone who is willing to take on this ratings system which is both discriminatory and interferes with the task of educating future custodians of the rule of law.
Yet, as historians know all too well, there is often the day when someone wakes up and challenges practices that are well accepted but fundamentally wrong. In these perilous times, I hope that sooner rather than later there is an awakening to our perilous state of American legal education.
Wednesday, January 23
Furman Hall Room 318
245 Sullivan Street
New York, NY 10012
Dan Guttman is a teacher and lawyer and has been a public servant. Following two years (2004-6) as a Fulbright scholar in China (teaching/co-teaching courses in law, public policy, China-US relations, environment at Peking, Tsinghua, Shanghai Jiao Tong, Fudan and Nanjing Universities) he works with colleagues in China, the US and other countries developing educational programs, and practices law as of counsel to Guttman, Buschner & Brooks.
Learn more here.