June 7, 2012
Teaching Ethics & Professionalism in First-Year Legal Writing
I have stressed the need for teaching ethics and professionalism in first-year courses. Legal writing is a particularly good place to teach these subjects. There is a new article that has several good ideas on incorporating ethics and professionalism into legal writing.
Abstract: These days, a lot of legal writing-related mistakes and errors in judgment draw a great deal of media scrutiny and attention — attention that spreads quickly in a digital environment. Legal writing professors have long recognized these as teaching moments, usually in the form of cautionary tales shared with students. More and more, as a community, the legal writing professorate has recognized the importance of integrating ethics and professionalism into the legal writing classroom; indeed in some instances, it is impossible to separate these concepts. Although the ABA requires law students to take a professional responsibility course, and many professors incorporate a discussion of ethics and professional conduct in other courses, these concepts are rarely integrated across the curriculum as key components of a law student’s academic experience.
With this in mind, I decided to try and use practical stories about “legal writing gone bad” to bring a discussion of ethics and professionalism into the first year course in a thoughtful, meaningful way. This article discusses the theoretical basis for incorporating ethics and professionalism in the first year course, and presents an exercise I developed for my first year legal research and writing students called “Legal Writing Missteps.”
P.S. I also have an article on teaching professionalism and ethics in legal writing on SSRN, Legal Writing, Professionalism, and Legal Ethics.
June 7, 2012 | Permalink
Ethics and professionalism can be, and should be, taught in every course, woven into the tapestry of fact acquisition, legal analysis, fashioning of advice, and interaction with client that can, and should, permeate the education of lawyers.
Posted by: Jim Maule | Jun 8, 2012 5:21:30 AM