Professional Responsibility is the study of how society regulates the legal profession and the attorney-client relationship.
Each student must take a professional responsibility course to graduate. Several courses satisfy this requirement. Second-year students receive preference in admission to these classes, so all J.D. students are strongly encouraged to take their professional responsibility course during their second year.
Most students take the general course, Professional Responsibility, which offers a survey approach to the subject. The survey course generally covers the law of attorney discipline, confidentiality, conflicts of interest and disqualification of lawyers, acceptance of and withdrawal from representation, regulation of law firms, and the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Some professors in the survey course cover a more limited number of subjects, especially when the course is offered in a two hour class.
In certain semesters, more specialized professional responsibility courses are offered that satisfy the graduation requirement. These include Professional Responsibility for Civil Litigators and a Keck Professional Responsibility class that focuses on transactional practice.
The law school also occasionally offers seminars in professional responsibility that fulfill the graduation requirement. Students should check the seminar description to determine whether a particular seminar satisfies the requirement. The seminars obviously cover a more limited number of subjects than the survey course.
Students may often take the survey course and either one of the specialized courses or a seminar if they wish to acquire additional depth in the subject. However, a student should check with the instructor of the second course to determine whether students who have taken the survey course are permitted to enroll.