The University of Akron School of Law building


The Miller Becker Center for Professional Responsibility (MBC) is a nationally recognized academic center dedicated to enhancing public trust and confidence in the legal profession and the judicial system.


Ethical Duty to Investigate Your Clients?

4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5 in person at the School of Law

Four Akron Law students participate in a mock trial competition virtually

Peter A. Joy

Speaker: Peter A. Joy, the Henry Hitchcock Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis. CV

Lawyers have been implicated in corporate scandals and other client crimes or frauds all too often, and the complicity of some lawyers is troubling both to the public and to members of the legal profession. In response, some legal commentators have called for changes to the ethics rules to require lawyers to investigate their clients and client transactions under some circumstances because current ethics rules require proof of a lawyer’s actual knowledge of a client’s crime or fraud. Rather than wait to see if the American Bar Association (ABA) would amend the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the ABA Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility (CEPR) issued ABA Formal Opinion 491 in 2020, holding that a duty to investigate exists in the ethics rules even though this is contrary to the plain text upon which the CEPR relied. This presentation reviews the flaws in the CEPR reasoning and explores whether there should be a duty to investigate and, if so, what process should lead to creating such a duty in the Model Rules.

 Credit has been requested with the Supreme Court of Ohio, Commission on CLE, for 1.0 hour of Professional Conduct.


MBC News

Director of The Miller Becker Center receives the OSBA Eugene R. Weir Award for Professionalism

Jack P. Sahl and Justice Michael P. Donnelly of the Ohio Supreme Court

Jack Sahl receives the Eugene Weir award. Pictured with Justice Michael P. Donnelly of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Professor Sahl recieves 2019 Weir award for professionalism.

Jack Sahl pictured with Robin Weaver, president of the Ohio State Bar Association (2018).

Jack P. Sahl, recipient of the 2019 Eugene R. Weir Award for Ethics and Professionalism. Each year, the Weir Award recognizes lawyers for his or her commitment and work to professional responsibility in the legal field.

Sahl is a Professor of Law and Director of the Joseph G. Miller Center for Professional Responsibility at UA. In addition, he is a national and international speaker and consultant on professional responsibility.

Recipients for this award are chosen based on:

  • Contributions made in the professional responsibility field
  • The recipients nominations by Ethics Committee members

Sahl’s research is focused in the areas of professional ethics, legal malpractice, lawyer discipline, judicial ethics and administration, cinema and the legal profession, and sports and entertainment law. More recently, Professor Sahl newely published a chapter, “What Every Entertainment Lawyer Needs to Know – How to Avoid Being the Target of a Legal Malpractice Claim or Disciplinary Action,” in the Practising Law Institute book, Counseling Clients In The Entertainment Industry 2019.

Recent events

  • Oct. 25, 2019 The day-long Annual Miller Becker Center (MBC) Seminar took place in Columbus at the Ohio State Bar headquarters. A speakers’ dinner on Oct. 24 preceded the event. The Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Professional Conduct and the Ohio State Bar Association co-sponsored the Seminar.

    The focus of last week’s program primarily concerned the impact of social media and technology on lawyer behavior and the use of both to investigate lawyer and judicial misconduct. The conference speakers included experts from Ohio and elsewhere and attracted approximately 150-plus lawyers and judges.
  • Feb. 5, 2019 "Representing Medical Malpractice Claimants- Some Common Ethics Issues" Speaker: Attorney Antonios P. Tsarouhas. Presented by The Joseph G. Miller and William C. Becker Center for Professional Responsibility and The Career Services Office
  • Nov. 14, 2018 "Common Ethics Considerations in Large Firm Litigation Practice" Speaker: Attorney Pete Cahoon. Presented by The Joseph G. Miller and William C. Becker Center for Professional Responsibility and The Career Services Office

Video and more

Lawyers and the Globalization of Legal Services Series

Laurel S. Terry with Jack Sahl from The University of Akron

Laurel S. Terry and Jack Sahl

International Developments, Internationals Networks, and their Impact on U.S. Legal Ethics

Laurel S. Terry, Professor of Law and H. Laddie Montague Jr. Chair in Law at Penn State, was the speaker at the inaugural lecture of the “Lawyers and the Globalization of Legal Services” Series in April. See Laurel S. Terry's biography.

Since the 2016 election, “globalization” has become a more politicized term than it was previously and a term that elicits strong reactions. The lecture addressed the impact of globalization on the legal profession, legal ethics, and lawyer regulation. It explains why international developments are relevant to lawyers, clients, and the public throughout the United States and why it is worth learning acronyms such as ABS, FATF, GATS, and PMBR. Terry's lecture highlighted the importance of international networks, including networks of law firms, in-house counsel, government lawyers, legal ethics practitioners, legal ethics academics, and regulators.

PDF icon Laurel Terry's remarks at Akron Law

Akron Legal News: Akron Law sponsors globalization of the legal industry lecture

Peter Cahoon, UA alumnus, standing outside of a law building

Alumnus in the spotlight


Partner at Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLC

I am a litigation attorney with a focus on domestic relations (family law), criminal defense, and government investigations of companies and individuals. I also represent licensed professionals such as attorneys, physicians, pharmacists and nurses in disciplinary investigations and proceedings.

Over the past 42 years, I have tried numerous cases to judges, juries and hearing panels throughout northeast Ohio. I am past President of the Akron Bar Association, and have chaired the Certified Grievance Committee, the Criminal Law Committee and the Family Law Section of the Akron Bar Association. In addition, I am a Fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers. I have been an adjunct instructor of Trial Advocacy at the University of Akron School of Law for more than twenty years.

Because each area in which I practice involves a likelihood of a contested trial or hearing, there is often a high level of conflict and risk for my clients. I help my clients manage the uncertainties of litigation and keep them informed of possible outcomes. I want my clients to feel in control and a part of the process in which they are involved.

The University of Akron School of Law was instrumental in preparing me for my career in handling professional responsibility matters. The late Dean Samad was my professional responsibility professor. Following law school, I also had the privilege of working on many matters with the late William Becker. He was an outstanding lawyer, and an even better person. I learned an awful lot from both Dean Samad and Professor Becker.

I am grateful for the opportunity the University of Akron School of Law gave me to have a great education and to make lifelong friends.

Publications from Miller Becker Center at UA

Center Director

Jack Sahl, Director of the Miller Becker Center for Professional ResponsibilityJack Sahl (bio) is director of the Miller Becker Center for Professional Responsibility. He serves on the Ohio State Bar Association Professionalism Committee and as Chair of the Publications Board for the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility. In 2019, he received the Eugene R. Weir Award for Ethics and Professionalism, the highest ethics recognition the Ohio State Bar Association awards.

Professor Sahl recently published:

  • A 2019 Update: What Every Entertainment Lawyer Needs to Know – How to Avoid Being the Target of a Legal Malpractice Claim or Disciplinary Action, Counseling Clients In The Entertainment Industry 2019 (Book Chapter 2/25/19);
  • The “Rainmaker Film”- A Window to View Lawyers and Professional Responsibility, 48 Memphis St. L. Rev. 826-57 (2018)
  • Professional Responsibility in Focus (Wolters Kluwer, 2017) (with R. Michael Cassidy, Benjamin P. Cooper, & Margaret Tarkington)

Contact us

Jack P. Sahl, Director (CV)

Julie Weiner, Program Coordinator

The MBC Director’s Office is in Room 205 of the C. Blake McDowell Law Center (map)

MBC Faculty Fellows

Martin Belsky Martin H. Belsky is the Randolph Baxter Professor of Law and former Dean of the Law School. He has organized and participated in various ethics conferences. Professor Belsky also served as the chief prosecutor in Philadelphia and Counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. He currently serves on the board of the Akron Bar Association. See his bio.

Richard Lavoie Richard Lavoie is a Dean's Club Professor of Law at The University of Akron Law School. His interests include tax ethics and statutory interpretation. See his bio.

MBC Advisory Board

William C. Becker
Ohio Attorney General’s Office

Anthony Damelio
Nationwide Insurance Co.

Joseph N. Gross
Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP

Kenneth M. Kaufman
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Jeannette L. Knudsen
The J.M. Smucker Company

Janet Green Marbley
Client’s Security Fund

Lucian T. Pera
Adams and Reese LLP

Harry D. Cornett
Tucker Ellis LLP

Peter A. Joy
Washington University – St. Louis School of Law

Tracy L. Kepler
ABA Center for Professional Responsibility

The Honorable Sara Lioi
United States District Court – Northern District of Ohio

Prof. James Moliterno
Washington and Lee University School of Law

Brian F. Toohey
Former Jones Day Principal Loss Prevention Partner

MBC Student Fellows

2018-19 Student Fellows

  • Hilary DeSaussure
  • Kevin Burns

The student fellows assist in the planning and implementation of Miller Becker Center programming. They also act as a liaison for the center with University personnel, law students, media and the bar.