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Ethical Issues for Representing Clients with Diminished Capacity Due to Psychiatric Disabilities

Level: Intermediate
Runtime: 92 minutes
Recorded Date: January 24, 2018
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1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
  • Diminished Capacity - Rule 1.14
  • Client Authority - Rule 1.2
  • Communication - Rule 1.4
  • Confidentiality - Rule 1.6
  • Conflicts of Interest - Rule 1.7 and 1.8
  • Declining/Terminating Representation - Rule 1.16
Runtime: 1 hour and 32 minutes
Recorded: January 24, 2018


Our panel of experts will discuss an attorney's ethical obligations as set forth in the ABA Model Rules of Professional Responsibility. Hypotheticals will be discussed to illustrate these rules in practice.

At some point in their careers, most lawyers will encounter a client with psychiatric disabilities. Representing these clients raises a number of ethical questions. These clients may have a limited ability to communicate desires and information, to understand information communicated by the attorney, and to understand choices, and may voice desires that do not appear to be in their best interests.

This program was recorded on January 24th, 2018.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Michael A. Kirtland

Senior Partner
Kirtland & Seal LLC

Michael A. Kirtland is a partner in the Colorado Springs law firm Kirtland & Seal, L.L.C. His practice is concentrated in the areas of trusts and estates, estate planning, wills, probate and ancillary probate, elder law, guardianship and conservatorship, and ethics issues related to those areas. Mr. Kirtland was admitted to practice in Alabama in 1994 and in Colorado in 2004. He is also admitted to the U.S. District Courts for the Middle District of Alabama and the District of Colorado, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Tenth and Eleventh Circuits, the U.S. Tax Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

He attended Coe College, where he received his B.A. in 1974, and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, where he received an M.P.A., summa cum laude, in 1981. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Faulkner University in 1993, and his LL.M. in taxation from the University of Alabama in 1999.

Mr. Kirtland is a member of the El Paso County, Colorado, and American bar associations. He is past chair of the El Paso County Bar Association Probate Section; chair of the Colorado Bar Association (CBA) Elder Law Section, and a member of the Trust and Estate and Alternative Dispute Resolution sections. He is a member of the American Bar Association Senior Lawyers Division, where he is a past council member, and the sections on Alternative Dispute Resolution and Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, of which he is past chair of the Elder Law Group. Mr. Kirtland is a member of the Ethics Committee of the El Paso County Medical Society. He is a past vice president and a member of the board of directors of the National Elder Law Foundation.

Mr. Kirtland is past chair of the Judicial Performance Commission for the Fourth Judicial District of Colorado. He is a member of the CBA Ethics Committee. He belongs to the Alabama State Bar (where he is a registered mediator) and the American Inns of Court in Colorado Springs. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and a member of the National Elder Law Foundation, the Air Force Association, and the Military Officers Association of America. Mr. Kirtland is one of only seven Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELAs) in Colorado.

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Catherine Anne Seal

Senior Partner
Kirtland & Seal, LLC

Catherine Anne Seal is the senior member in the law firm of Kirtland & Seal, LLC in Colorado Springs. Ms. Seal is the Public Administrator for the Fourth Judicial District of Colorado, serving El Paso and Teller Counties. She is the first person ever awarded an LL.M. Degree in Elder Law from the Stetson University College of Law, graduating with honors. Ms. Seal received her B.B.A. degree with honors from Colorado State University and an M.S. degree in marketing from the University of Colorado-Denver. She received her law degree from the University of Colorado Law School and holds a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

Catherine is a member of the American Bar Association's Real Property, Trusts and Estate Law Section where she serves as co-chair of the Surrogate Decision Making Committee. She is President-Elect of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and is past-chair of the Guardianship Section. She is the past president of the Colorado Chapter of NAELA, and is one of only ten attorneys in Colorado designated a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. As a member of the Colorado Bar Association, Ms. Seal is a past Chair of the Elder Law Section. She is the author of Colorado Elder Law, published by Thompson West Publishing as part of their Colorado Practice Series. Her practice is concentrated in the areas of elder law, protective proceedings, probate, financial exploitation of the elderly, and related matters.

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Candice Garcia-Rodrigo

Principal Attorney
Rodrigo Law Firm, P.C.

Candice Garcia-Rodrigo is a California probate & business law attorney with offices in the San Bernardino area. After graduating in the top five percent of her class from the La Verne College of Law she worked as an associate attorney before starting her own firm. A lawyer since 2007, Candice founded the Rodrigo Law Firm on the basis that all clients are entitled to the highest level of respect and service. She recognizes that one of the most common complaints against lawyers is the failure to regularly communicate with clients. This is why she enacted policies to make our firm different from others. These policies include things such as ensuring that all phone calls and emails are promptly responded to (typically on the same business day), that clients receive copies of all court documents and are copied on correspondence, and that we are available to answer any questions you may have. Our philosophy is that those facing a legal problem have enough to worry about. They should not have to also be concerned about their lawyer. This is why we strive to provide the highest level of customer service.

Candice is licensed in the California and Hawaii state courts as well as in the Federal District of California. She has given presentations on probate related issues and has been published numerous times in various publications. She is certified as a Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. She also holds a Masters of Science in Leadership & Management, as well as a Masters degree in Public Administration, she brings a level of experience and knowledge to her practice which allows for creative problem solving and “outside the box” solutions to a client’s problems.

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