Watergate Ethics Reforms Have Failed In Washington: Lawyers are Deep in the Swamp, Again
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 Export to Your Calendar 8/21/2020
When: Friday, August 21, 2020
1:00 PM CT - 4:15 PM CT

Online registration is available until: 8/21/2020
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MCLE Accreditation
NE MCLE #190154, IA MCLE #343511. 3.0 CLE hours, including 3.0 hours Ethics. (Distance Learning)
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Registration Fees
$180.00 – Regular Registration
$150.00 – NSBA Voluntary Dues-Paying Member
$75.00 – NSBA Voluntary Dues-Paying Member Junior Actives
$50- Dues paying members who use their two free ethics credit benefit
$25- Dues paying NSBA Junior Active member who use their two free ethics credit benefit
Free – Law students

NSBA Dues Paying Members:  If you have not already claimed your 2 hours of FREE Ethics for 2020 and wish to use them for this event, please choose the ticket named Watergate - NSBA Dues Members 2 Ethics Hours (2020). To ensure proper pricing, you must be logged-in as the attorney you are intending to register for this event.

***PLEASE NOTE: As a voluntary dues-paying member you are only eligible to attend ONE NSBA two-hour FREE ethics program each year.  If you are unsure whether you have already used the promo code to attend one of the member benefit ethics CLE programs for free, then please contact Lisa Henrichs at 402-475-7091 or email her at lhenrichs@nebar.com before registering, otherwise you will be invoiced the full registration price.

Thank You to Our Sponsors


Recent events have found a government whistleblower at the center of a controversy involving the potential impeachment of a president. Forty-five years ago, John Dean, President Nixon’s White House Counsel, became the most prominent lawyer whistleblower in American history. His testimony resulted in the only resignation of a sitting U. S. president and started a revolution in legal ethics. See ABA Journal, “The Lawyers of Watergate: How a ‘3rd-Rate Burglary’ Provoked New Standards for Lawyer Ethics,” June 1, 2012.

Since Watergate, federal law has changed under the False Claims Act, Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank, IRS Whistleblower programs, and the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, among others. Questions arise as to a lawyer’s role as a whistleblower, given a lawyer’s duty of confidentiality and duty of loyalty. A good number of law review articles have expounded on the question. 

Whether a lawyer may “report out” on a client is a complicated and fraught question. If done incorrectly, the lawyers risks discipline or even loss of the license to practice. This seminar is meant to provide the historical context to the question of when lawyers can—or must—report ongoing or future crime or fraud.



John W. Dean - Before becoming Counsel to the President of the United States in July 1970 at age thirty-one, John Dean was Chief Minority Counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives, the Associate Director of a law reform commission, and Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States. He served as Richard Nixon’s White House lawyer for a thousand days.

He did his undergraduate studies at Colgate University and the College of Wooster, with majors in English Literature and Political Science. He received a graduate fellowship from American University to study government and the presidency, before entering Georgetown University Law Center, where he received his JD in 1965.

John recounted his days in the Nixon White House and Watergate in two books, Blind Ambition (1976) and Lost Honor (1982). He lives in Beverly Hills, California with his wife Maureen, and now devotes full time to writing and lecturing, having retired from his career as a private investment banker.  He recently published his 12th book (10th since retiring), another New York Times bestseller, which returns to Watergate and is based on the new material now available.  It was this material that prompted John and Jim to develop this CLE.

    James David Robenalt - Jim is a partner and former Chair of the Business Litigation group at Thompson Hine LLP’s Cleveland office. Jim has won big verdicts for client, including Avery Dennison ($81 million jury verdict on international espionage case) and Solvay Pharmaceuticals ($68 million arbitration award on drug co-promotion agreement). Jim is also the author of two non-fiction books dealing with the American presidency: Linking Rings, William W. Durbin and the Magic and Mystery of America (Kent State University Press 2004) and The Harding Affair, Love and Espionage During the Great War (Palgrave 2009). Jim recently completed his next book, drawing on research for the WatergateCLE courses, which he will publish in the Spring of 2015. He is also a recognized leader in judicial reform in Ohio.

Jim teaches and instructs on the legal ethics and the representation of an organization under new Model Rules 1.13 and 1.6. Using John Dean as fact witness and Watergate as a case study, Jim and Mr. Dean have developed an interactive, fast-paced program that explores the duties of an attorney representing an organization when wrongdoing is uncovered. Rule 1.13 defines “organization” broadly, including corporations, partnerships, unions, governmental entities and the like.

Launched in Chicago in June 2011, the seminar has received glowing reviews both for its engaging presentation and its relevance to the most current rules of legal ethics. “Best CLE I have ever attended,” is the most common reaction.