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Ethics for Law Students & Law School Graduates in a Georgia Prosecuting Attorney’s Office

Submitted by Chuck Olson on Wed, 06-12-2013
Long title
Ethics for Law Students & Law School Graduates Interning in a District Attorney's or Solicitor-General's Office or at the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council
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Chuck Olson
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United States
Georgia law and court rules permit third year law students and recent law school graduates to perform most of the functions of a prosecutor before they are admitted to the practice of law. Many of these individuals will have had some of this experience through a clinical program offered by the law school. For others, this is the first opportunity to put into practice what they have been learning in law school. Whether referred to as being an intern, extern, third-year law student or law school graduate, they are going to be confronted with the same ethical issues and situations that confront prosecutors on a day to day basis. While in a law school classes, legal ethics may be viewed from third party perspective, for students and recent graduates working in a prosecutor's office, violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct can have real world consequences. A growing body of ethics opinions, legal research and court decisions recognize that law student interns are subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct. As a result, law student interns face "the possibility of professional discipline in some states, (and) that ethical misconduct as clinic students may have (an effect) on their application to the bar." Additionally, allegations of "prosecutorial misconduct" based on violations of ethical rules by a law student or recent law school graduate can be raised by criminal defendants in appeals. They can also form the basis for habeas corpus actions brought years later.
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