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Ethics for Environmental Lawyers

(647 reviews)

Produced on April 24, 2017

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Course Information

Time 1h 32m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Ethics Environmental

Course Description

Environmental lawyers routinely face ethical questions in their practice. Some of the more common issues relate to the need for balancing client confidentiality with various statutory and regulatory duties to report. Conflicts of interest, in terms of clients, use of experts and positions taken on issues, are also common. Pamela Esterman, Principal at Sive Paget Riesel, and Fern Fleischer Daves, General Counsel of the Thermostat Recycling Corporation, examine how best to manage these and other unique challenges faced by environmental lawyers. They also present various hypothetical scenarios, and highlight the applicable Model Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC) as well as the resources available to lawyers who are faced with questions.

The Model Rules discussed will include MR 1.1(competency), 1.6 (client confidences), 1.7, 1.8, 1.9 (conflicts), 1.13 (organization as the client), 1.16 (declining or terminating representation), 3.3 (candor to the tribunal), 4.1 (truthfulness in statements to others), 4.4 (respect for third persons), and 8.4 (conduct involving dishonesty).

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Understand the ethical obligation of technological competence, including guidelines for handling metadata and inadvertently transmitted e-mail communications
  2. Identify challenges to a lawyer’s duty of confidentiality and ethical considerations in working with experts
  3. Recognize and address conflicts of interest
  4. Assess practicalities associated with “Legal Holds” 

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


Fern Fleischer Daves

Thermostat Recycling Corporation

Fern Fleischer Daves is currently serving as the General Counsel of the Thermostat Recycling Corporation, a not-for-profit association of manufacturers. TRC’s mission is to collect and properly recycle out of service mercury containing thermostats throughout the US.  

Prior to joining TRC, she was in-house counsel at ITT Corporation headquartered in White Plains, New York, at Asarco Incorporated in New York and Colorado. Fern also practiced environmental law at several firms in New Jersey.

Fern currently serves on the boards of directors of the Westchester/Southern Connecticut Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, and Urban Art Projects. She previously served in leadership positions for the Corporate Environmental Enforcement Council, the American Bar Association Section on Environment, Energy and Resources, and the Auditing Roundtable New York Region.

Fern co-authored the Environmental Chapter in Successful Partnering between Inside and Outside Counsel (ACC/Thompson Reuters, 2015). She has published articles and lectured on a variety of topics including compliance, self-auditing, Brownfields, Superfund, product safety, SEC disclosures, and environmental issues in mergers and acquisitions.

Fern was educated in Washington, D.C. at American University (M.S. in Justice; B.A. in Law and Society), and Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.) where she was a staff member on the Georgetown International Environmental Law Review.

Pamela Esterman

Sive, Paget & Riesel, PC

Pamela Esterman has practiced environmental law for over thirty years with the law firm of Sive, Paget & Riesel, P.C. in New York City. Her experience at the firm includes handling the environmental aspects of business and real estate transactions, litigating complex multi-party hazardous waste cases, and obtaining permits and approvals for development projects. Ms. Esterman is an active mediator. She has helped to resolve hundreds of cases including business/commercial, construction, environmental, employment discrimination, personal injury and civil rights matters. She serves on the mediation panels for numerous federal and state courts.

Ms. Esterman is the co-planning chair of the annual ALI CLE Environmental Law Conference in Washington, D.C. Ms. Esterman currently teaches Environmental Law at Hofstra Law School as an Adjunct. She previously served as an Adjunct Professor at Pace University School of Law where she taught Environmental Dispute Resolution. She has authored numerous commentary articles and book chapters on topics relating to environmental law, ethics, and alternative dispute resolution. She is an active member of ABA SEER and currently serves as Chair of the Governance Committee.


Elizabeth P.

Good update on ethics issues that are current

Paul A.

Practical advice given for what can be a difficult topic - well done!

William K.

Outstanding program!

Amy D.

Great class -- thank you.

Robert L.

Excellent, well balanced, supported, & presented; this is as good as the "Ethical Linked-In" course was bad!

Brian P.

I really enjoyed the hypotheticals. Thanks!

Mary W.

Good speakers, good interaction and I thought the hypotheticals added much.

Jeff R.

Well done. Thanks.

Marcie H.

Excellent course! Thank you.

Erik L.

The presenters were engaging and really helped keep my interest.

natalie e.

Good speakers with useful content.

Daniel C.

Great hypotheticals!

Karl M.

Very good set of practitioners with a range of personal anecdotes that bring the material alive

Tiffany A.

Excellent program! Roadmap, practical hypos, and engaging and knowledgable presenters.

Roger P.

Superb presentation. Great speakers and format

Lizzy S.

enjoyed the hypotheticals

William K.

Good course. Useful / practical info.

sosi v.

Used good examples of hypotheticals

John K.

Excellent coverage with highlights on expert witnesses, confidentiality, and conflicts. Touches data retention and holds.

Erica N.

Really excellent presentation. Both speakers clearly knew the subject in depth but were able to present it in a colloquial and easily digestible fashion.

Stephen S.


Hope D.

Super helpful - most informative and practical course I've taken to date

Kristin C.

It was a great conversation between two very experienced lawyers.

Sarah M.

Very well done.

Louise C.

Really great, very well done, informative, and the practical application hypotheticals were on point.

John A. M.

Excellent presentation. Valuable information well-organized and well presented. Case studies were useful and straight on point.,

Richard W.

Excellent course.

Bryan G.

Great CLE

Lisa H.

Good presenters

Robert M.

dialogue back and forth rather than one person reading notes makes it much better.


Used very good hypos!

Carl F.

Great program!

Melissa W.

Extremely thorough. Engaging hypotheticals. Well-tailored to environmental attorneys.

John T.

very good and practical course. Highly recommended

Paul W.

Speakers had a great rapport.

Stephen E.

Well done...nice interplay between presenters.

Christopher A.

Excellent program. Correct amount of detail to focus on key ethics issues of concern.

Linda V.

Great to tailor for environmental attorneys, although much seems to apply in all types of law. Enjoyed the scenarios.

R. Christopher R.

Excellent handling of ethical issues

Todd V.

Precise and well presented

Ann H.

Very knowledgeable presenters!

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