Celesq® Attorneys Ed Center

Must Lawyers Now Affirmatively Challenge Their Clients? — New ABA Guidance

Program Number: 30157

Program Date: 06/08/2020


Lawyers are trusted keepers of their client’s secrets, but sometimes a lawyer might suspect that the client is seeking the lawyer’s advice or assistance to carry out a transaction that is criminal or fraudulent. Existing Rule 1.2(d) of the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct prohibits lawyers from counseling clients to engage in activity the lawyer knows is fraudulent. But what if the lawyer strongly suspects nefarious aims, but does not have actual knowledge? On April 29, 2020, the ABA issued Formal Opinion 491, in which it advised that lawyers have a duty to inquire further if the facts known establish a “high probability” that the client is seeking to use the lawyer’s services to commit a crime or a fraud. The panel of distinguished ethics professionals will explore the contours of this duty to inquire, with concrete guidance and examples of scenarios in which the issue might arise. The panel will also discuss how this applies to prior guidance from the ABA regarding client due diligence in the context of money laundering and terrorist financing.

$95.00Audio Tape Add to Cart $95.00Online Audio Add to Cart

Available in states

California, Colorado Eligible, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey Eligible, New York, Texas Self Study

Credit Information

50 minute credit hour - 1.0 General CLE credit, based on a 50-minute credit hour, including 1.0 credit Ethics
60 minute credit hour - 1.0 General CLE credit, based on a 60-minute credit hour, including 1.0 credit Ethics

State Program Numbers


Daniel R. Alonso, Esq.

Buckley LLP


Daniel R. Alonso is a Partner in the New York office of Buckley LLP. His practice focuses on white collar representation of corporations and individuals, internal investigations, complex civil litigation, and monitorships. He previously served in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York for nearly a decade, including three years as Chief of the Criminal Division, and was later the Chief Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. In between, Mr. Alonso was a litigation partner at Kaye Scholer LLP, and just prior to joining Buckley he served as Managing Director and General Counsel at the global compliance and risk management firm Exiger.

Mr. Alonso currently serves on the Attorney Grievance Committee for New York’s First Judicial Department, as well as the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct. He is also a member of the Integrity & Compliance Taskforce of the B20, the G20’s dialogue with the global business community. Previously, Mr. Alonso was a gubernatorial appointee to the New York State Commission on Public Integrity, and in 2009 was appointed Special Counsel to a New York State Senate Select Committee that investigated, and recommended the expulsion of, a senator convicted of domestic violence. He is a former co-chair of the New York State White Collar Crime Task Force, and the former chair of the Council on Criminal Justice of the New York City Bar Association.



Joel Cohen, Esq.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

Joel Cohen, an experienced white-collar criminal lawyer, joined the firm in 1985 after ten years as a prosecutor, first with the New York State Special Prosecutor’s Office and, second, as an Assistant Attorney-in-Charge with the U.S. Justice Department’s Organized Crime & Racketeering Section (E.D.N.Y.). In those positions, he concentrated in the investigation, prosecution and trial of organized crime figures and corruption cases involving high-ranking public officials in New York, including the top leadership of the Colombo crime family, many members of the elite narcotics division of the New York Police Department, and the first ever prosecution of a sitting FBI agent.

Since arriving at Stroock, Mr. Cohen has represented and actively counseled individuals and corporations that have been investigated and/or prosecuted for alleged federal racketeering, securities violations, tax evasion, bribery, fraud, corruption, obstruction of justice, money laundering, environmental offenses, and customs violations involving alleged international frauds. He has also represented attorneys on ethical issues and in disciplinary proceedings in a number of jurisdictions in the New York area.


Michael S. Ross, Esq.

Law Offices of Michael S. Ross

Michael S. Ross is the principal of the Law Offices of Michael S. Ross, where he concentrates
his practice in attorney ethics and professional responsibility matters. He is a former Assistant
United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the Southern District of New York and also
served as an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County. Mr. Ross has been an Adjunct Professor at
the Benjamin
N. Cardozo School of Law for forty years, and has taught a variety of courses in Criminal and Civil
Litigation; Appellate Advocacy; Judicial Administration; and Professional Responsibility. Mr. Ross
currently teaches Litigation Ethics at Cardozo Law School during both the Fall and Spring semesters
and simultaneously, for the last fourteen years, he has taught Professional Responsibility at
Brooklyn Law School during the Fall, Spring and Summer Semesters. He co-founded in 1983 Cardozo
Law School’s annual two-week Intensive Trial Advocacy Program and for more than three and a half
decades, has served in roles as the Executive Director, Team Leader or Instructor/Lecturer of the

Mr. Ross has lectured widely on ethics-related topics to organizations such as the American Bar
Association (“A.B.A.”), the Practicing Law Institute, the Appellate Divisions of the First, Second
and Third Judicial Departments, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the New York
State Judicial Institute, the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, the New York State Bar
Association, the New York County Lawyers’ Association, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association
and the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Mr. Ross has served as a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Professional
Discipline; the New York State Bar Association’s Task Force On Lawyer Advertising; the New York
County Lawyers’ Association’s Committee on Professional Discipline; the New York State Bar
Association’s Special Committee on the Unlawful Practice of Law; the New York State Bar
Association’s Special Committee on Procedures for Judicial Discipline; and the New York State Bar
Association’s Committee on Mass Disasters. He previously served for a number of terms on the
Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Committee on Professional Discipline.

Mr. Ross completed a five-year tenure as an appointed member of the New York State
Continuing Legal Education Board, which, among other things, formulates CLE guidelines in the
State. Mr. Ross has chaired the A.B.A.’s Grand Jury Committee and the City Bar Association’s
Committee on Criminal Advocacy. He previously served as the A.B.A. Criminal Justice Section’s
liaison to the
A.B.A. Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and was an appointed member of
the A.B.A.’s Special “Criminal Justice In Crisis Committee.”

Among his writings, Mr. Ross has co-authored a chapter on “Client and Witness Perjury,” for the
A.B.A.’s Section of Litigation ethics t itigation
Ethics: Course
Materials For Continuing Legal Education.