Strategies for Defending Indefensible Claims Ethically, Effectively, and Successfully

Recognizing Indefensible Claims, Providing Zealous Representation, Deploying Effective Defense Strategies

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
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Conducted on Thursday, March 24, 2022

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will explain how trial attorneys in high stakes litigation can navigate such things as client or witness illegal activity related or unrelated to the case, suspected witness or client perjury, changing stories, and suspicious activities, but still ethically represent the client. A former Assistant United States Attorney and a seasoned trial lawyer will discuss how to ethically, effectively, and successfully defend seemingly indefensible claims and avoid professional malfeasance.


Every lawyer is faced at some point with seemingly an "indefensible" claim or claims. A client may have failed to act under good and accepted standards, customs, and practices of a professional in their field, or a client may have engaged in misconduct. Sometimes counsel must represent a client whose conduct is unlawful and immoral and has resulted in horrific harm, that is repulsive to the attorney. Sometimes what makes a claim seem indefensible is the client.

Plaintiffs' lawyers may also find themselves seeking damages that occurred while their client engaged in illegal or objectionable activities. Counsel must understand the extend and limits privilege and the duty to keep information confidential. Sometimes attorneys do not find out until well into the case—after critical evidence has been disclosed-- that the client’s actions could result in criminal charges.

But ethical, effective, and successful strategies exist even in such complex or hopeless cases. In carrying them out, defense counsel must be ever mindful of ethical obligations owed to many participants.

Listen as our renowned panel guides counsel through the most challenging types of cases, whether in federal or state court.



  1. Characteristics of indefensible cases and the ethical issues and concerns presented
    1. Defining characteristics and concerns
    2. The ethical issues and concerns presented
  2. Providing zealous representation
    1. Assessing whether you can provide the requisite zealous representation
    2. Understanding the boundaries of what you can and cannot do
    3. The attorney-client privilege and the crime/fraud exception
  3. Defense strategies
    1. Maneuvering to early settlement
    2. Handling media/publicity
    3. Pursuing technical defenses
    4. Mechanics of defending such cases


The panel will discuss these and other essential issues:

  • If optional, should counsel ever choose/choose not to take an indefensible case?
  • Should counsel withdraw upon learning facts that render the case indefensible?
  • What should counsel look for in a jury in "indefensible" cases?
  • Does pursuing technical defenses hurt or help the case?


Biging, Peter
Peter J. Biging

Goldberg Segalla

Mr. Biging is an accomplished trial and appellate attorney with more than 30 years of experience as a litigator in the...  |  Read More

Ross, Michael
Michael S. Ross

Law Offices Of Michael S. Ross

Mr. Ross concentrates his practice in attorney ethics. He is a former Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal...  |  Read More

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