The Jelly Beaner Challenge: How Attorneys Serving as Neutrals Identify and Coordinate the Ethical Mandates of the 2009 Rules of Professional Conduct with the Ethical Mandates of Dispute Resolution
New York Dispute Resolution Lawyer
Many of us may remember as children trying to master the coordination game Jelly Beaner, a joust in which the player is challenged to pat his or her head up and down with one hand while simultaneously rubbing his or her belly in a circular pattern with the other hand. Competing movements, but with practice even those less coordinated can master how to synchronize their hands and play the game. So, too, those of us who are lawyers serving as neutrals are now engaging in a variant of the Jelly Beaner Challenge when it comes to discerning ethical behavior. How do we as third-party neutrals simultaneously follow the newly issued ethical mandates of the New York Part 1200 Rules of Professional Conduct for Lawyers that became effective April 1, 2009, while at the same time adhering to the relevant dispute resolution ethical guidelines? This column will elucidate the implications of three rules in the 2009 Rules of Professional Conduct that are applicable to third-party neutrals: conflicts, clarification of attorney/neutral role and confidentiality. Then we will discuss how ethical practitioners may coordinate the mandates of the Professional Rules with the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators, a representative ethics code for third-party neutrals. We’ll start off easy and progress to the greater challenges. Let’s learn how to play.
Reprinted with permission from the New York State Bar Association.