CLE by the Sea Ethics Track


Sunday, July 19, 2015 - 1:30 pm - 4:45 pm

Watergate III: Breaking Rank

As lawyer for the organization, what are the duties and obligations if a report up to the highest authority within an organization has failed and crime or fraud continue? Rule 1.13 of the Code of Professional Conduct (the “Model Rules”) provides that the lawyer may “report out” what the lawyer knows, regardless of the duty of confidentiality imposed by Rule 1.6. And the lawyer’s duties become even more complicated if the lawyer has participated, knowingly or not, in the wrongdoing that gives rise to the reporting obligation. How then does the lawyer extricate himself or herself? When is resignation enough? When does a lawyer need to engage in a “noisy” withdrawal?

In Watergate III, the story picks up after Dean’s March 21, 1973 warning and moves the story through its dramatic twists and turns, as Dean hires a lawyer, meets with prosecutors and eventually Senate investigators, and ultimately breaks with the president. He then becomes the target of the administration and somehow navigates through treacherous waters to safe harbor, ending the cover-up. The seminar uses White House tapes and relies on the encyclopedic work done by Dean in his most recent, best-selling book, The Nixon Defense, What He Knew and When He Knew It. The seminar is a must for those interested in crisis management and high stakes negotiation.

This program track may qualify for up to 3.0 hours MCLE/Ethics.

"Outstanding presentation and unique opportunity to experience history first hand"

The Legacy of Watergate -
Click to watch a collection of short video clips

"Best CLE course I have attended. Entertaining, Informative, and legally, historically and ethically relevant and poignant"


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.

Note: This program is an update and replaces the original program by Egil "Bud" Krogh, who had to cancel his appearance due to an ongoing health concern.