Private Settlement as Alternative Adjudication: A Rationale for Negotiation Ethics

A rule of ethics like the one proposed in this Note takes a step toward this goal. Part I explores the general nature of unethical settlement negotiation, and the inadequate responses offered by both the American Bar Association Model Code of Professional Responsibility and the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Part II presents a theory for recognizing private settlement negotiation as a substantive component of the adjudicatory process, deserving of all the ethical protections afforded forensic litigation. Part III evaluates certain proposals for reform and responds to various criticisms commonly leveled against efforts to regulate private negotiation with ethical standards and rules. Finally, Part IV concludes with a Model Rule to guide lawyers in their private settlement negotiation conduct.