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Ethical Considerations in Settling a Class Action Update


Created on March 23, 2017



Many class actions settle, and both plaintiffs' and defense attorneys face many types of ethical issues as they settle class actions. For example, should a defendant company make an offer of judgment to a representative plaintiff to rid itself of a case? When settling a case, is a cy pres award appropriate for unclaimed funds? How do attorneys' fees factor into settlement negotiations?

In this ethics program, led by attorneys Deborah Renner and Kimberly Kalmanson, we explore ethical issues from both sides of the "v."

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Understand offers of judgment as a means of settlement in light of recent U.S. Supreme Court cases

  2. Identify ethical considerations involved in pre-certification communications with putative class members regarding settlement

  3. Recognize when and how, from an ethical perspective, negotiations regarding attorneys' fees factor into overall settlement discussions

  4. Discuss the ethical considerations involved in creating incentive awards for class representatives

  5. Gain familiarity with the cy pres doctrine and the ethical considerations counsel must take into account in structuring a cy pres distribution

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