Professor McGinniss Publishes NDLR Article and will Present the 2016 Vogel Lecture

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

School of Law


On Friday, June 17, at the SBAND Annual Meeting in Grand Forks, Professor McGinniss will be presenting the 2016 Mart Vogel Lecture on Professionalism and Legal Ethics. The Lecture will be based on his recently published lead article in Volume 91, Issue 2 of the North Dakota Law Review, entitled Breaking Faith: Machiavelli and Moral Risks in Lawyer Negotiation. In the article, Professor McGinniss examines the ethics of lawyer negotiation through the viciously scratched lens of Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince, in which he advises political rulers about what he considers realistic principles for decision making and action. For background, the article introduces some core elements of Machiavelli’s moral philosophy and its often subtle but nevertheless persisting influence on the American legal profession and the practice of negotiation. After reviewing the most important aspects of the law of lawyer negotiation, it considers concepts of risk in the negotiation process, including informational and moral risks. The article proposes that negotiation practices manifesting Machiavellian faith breaking and “effectual truth,” rather than a lawyer’s commitment to good faith and honest dealing, create moral risks of harm to lawyer integrity, as well as to relationships with clients and within the community. It concludes by advancing a realistic ideal for virtuous negotiation, founded in the keeping of faith with opposing counsel and parties, and promoting the virtues of respect for other persons, loyalty to clients, and justice from fair processes.

Following the Vogel Lecture presentationm Professor McGinniss will moderate a panel discussion on the ethics of lawyer negotiation with retired United States District Court Chief Magistrate Judge Karen K. Klein and North Dakota lawyer David S. Maring.