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Is There a Need for Stronger Standards of Professional Conduct For Lawyers Involved in Election Disputes?

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 89 minutes
Recorded Date: May 23, 2022
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Attendees will learn:

• Why elections require more than the usual professional rules and post-action remedies.

• The importance of existing rules of professional conduct, as well as court rules, in high profile cases.

• The need to regulate conduct when the public interest in election disputes is high.

• The need to consider special rules of professional conduct for election disputes that include the public interest and confidence in democratic institutions. 

Runtime: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Recorded: May 23, 2022

For NY - Difficulty Level: For experienced attorneys only (non-transitional)


The rules governing lawyers apply to litigation generally. Enforcement is after the fact. Election law claims, however, are not run-of-the mill cases. They can raise significant questions about democratic institutions and the succession of democratic authority. They affect voter confidence. They should require more than the usual professional rules and post-action remedies. Filing claims challenging vote counting and certification should require higher standards. The current regulations do not serve the public interest. A higher standard of professional conduct could require attorneys filing an election challenge to certify that the filing is supported by personal investigation of the facts and existing law, or a good faith extension of the law. A panel of experts will discuss: -Why elections require more than the usual professional rules and post-action remedies. -The importance of existing rules of professional conduct, as well as court rules, in high profile cases. -The need to regulate conduct when the public interest in election disputes is high. -The need to consider special rules of professional conduct for election disputes that include the public interest and confidence in democratic institutions.

This program was recorded on May 23, 2022.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Elizabeth DePatie

Election Law Program Manager
William & Mary Law School

Elizabeth is the Election Law Program Manager at William & Mary Law school. She is a 2022 graduate of William & Mary Law school with a special interest in Election Law and Election Administration. Working to make democracy stronger and increase public trust and support of the democratic process.

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Elizabeth Yang

W Strong, LLC.

Elizabeth M. Yang is a founder and President of WStrong LLC. She is a seasoned executive with more than 20 years of management experience, including strategic planning and budgeting, volunteer mobilization, board relations, grant administration, program and staff management, and fund development. She excels at building local, state, and national relationships and networks. Her career is best seen through the lens of public service and the critical need for access to and equal justice for all members of our society. She is a national expert in election law and is currently a member of the American Bar Association ("ABA") Standing Committee on Election Law and also serves on the Council of the Section of State and Local Goverment Law and chairs the Section's inaugural Committee on Elections and Voting Rights. ?
Prior to founding WStrong LLC, Elizabeth served as the Deputy Director of ABA Division for Public Services for over two decades. In this capacity, she focused on programming, policy development, and initiatives that highlighted the important role of the legal profession in the field of election administration and voting rights, bioethics, and disaster response and preparedness. Elizabeth also managed a portfolio of public interest entities related to homelessness and poverty and immigration law. She is an innovative and accomplished author, public speaker, and team builder who believes in mentoring and creating paths of advancement and well-being for her colleagues and associates. ??
Elizabeth earned her BA in Rhetoric and Communications Studies from the University of Virginia and a JD from Syracuse University College of Law.

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John Hardin Young

Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, P.C.

John (Jack) Hardin Young has held senior positions in private law firms, industry and government. His primary areas of practice are administrative and regulatory law, electoral dispute resolution, and electoral processes and recounts. He has represented clients in federal and state litigation across the United States.

Senior Global Electoral Dispute Advisor, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (2009- ). Managing Director, Center for the Mediation of Electoral Disputes (CMED).

Chair, ABA Standing Committee on Election Law; ABA Board of Governors(2007-2010); Past Chair, ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice; Life Fellow, American Bar Foundation; Board of Trustees, American Inns of Court Foundation(2004-2008) Founding Board member Temple Bar Scholars program; Life Member, American Law Institute; Editor, International Election Principles (ABA 2008); author, Young’s Federal Rules of Evidence.

Adjutant Professor, William & Mary Law School, International & Comparative Election Law ( 2009- ); University of Pittsburg Law School, Election Law; and, George Mason Law School, Alternative Dispute Resolution (2004); Special Counsel to the Democratic National Committee & Co-Chair, National Lawyers Council (1996-2000); Chair, American Inns of Court/Commercial Bar of England Rule of Law Conference (2007).

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Benjamin Griffith

Griffith Law Firm

Ben Griffith's federal and state civil litigation practice traces back to his early civil trial work in the Mississippi Delta with his late father and law partner, Ellis Griffith. That work began to reach into other states during the late 1970's. Ben’s civil litigation practice is now based in Oxford, Mississippi and extends to representing state agencies, counties, cities, school boards, elected officials, nongovernmental entities and other private sector insureds and their insurers in federal and state civil litigation throughout Mississippi and in other jurisdictions.

He has been associated to represent defendants in federal and state civil litigation in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C. With Oxford, Mississippi as a base for an expanded multi-state practice, Ben’s work focuses on defense of state and local governments, agencies, and school districts in civil rights, voting rights, election law, governmental tort liability, and First Amendment litigation, representation of commercial entities and other private sector insureds in premises security litigation, public entity insurance coverage disputes, and environmental law with a focus on water resources management.

He served as Board Attorney for the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors for 21 years from 1983 through 2003, and continues to serve as Board Attorney for the 17-county Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Joint Water Management District, a position held since 1989. He has been recognized by his peers through inclusion in Best Lawyers in America in the field of Municipal Law and Mid South SuperLawyers in the field of Municipal Law each year since 2006. He serves as Adjunct Professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law and teaches the Municipal Law Practice Skills Course.

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Lucian T. Pera

Adams & Reese, LLP

Lucian T. Pera focuses his practice on commercial litigation, media law, and legal ethics work. His civil litigation practice has ranged widely and includes a variety of commercial, personal injury and intellectual property litigation, as well as numerous state and federal appeals. Lucian has represented many media outlets in matters ranging from claims for defamation or invasion of privacy to access to courtrooms, public records and meetings of government bodies.

His extensive bar association work in the field of legal ethics and professional responsibility has resulted in him being elected, both locally in Tennessee and nationally, to bar association leadership positions. This work also makes him a go-to lawyer nationally in the field of legal ethics and professional responsibility. He advises attorneys, law firms, their clients, and businesses who deal with lawyers about all aspects of the law. Recent assignments have included defense of lawyers in disciplinary investigations and proceedings, counseling clients with disciplinary complaints and other claims against lawyers, advising law firms about loss prevention and claims, defending and prosecuting motions to disqualify lawyers or for sanctions, and advising innovative start-ups in the legal business.

Lucian regularly provides expert witness testimony in matters concerning legal ethics, professional responsibility and the standard of care for lawyers and law firms.

Amid rapid changes in the business of law, Lucian also counsels law firms and other entities developing new business models for the delivery of legal services. He also advises individuals and organizations seeking to do business with lawyers about how they may do so legally and ethically.

Lucian also writes and speaks frequently, both nationally and in Tennessee, on legal ethics and professional responsibility and media law. In addition, he routinely conducts presentations and seminars for national audiences.

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