Monday, November 13, 2017

Teaching Behavioral Legal Ethics

I have been doing a lot of research on cognitive biases recently, and I ran across a great article on teaching cognitive biases in a legal ethics class:

Insights from Psychology: Teaching Behavioral Legal Ethics as a Core Element of Professional Responsibility by Tigran Eldred.


"The field of behavioral legal ethics — which draws on a large body of empirical research to explore how subtle and often unconscious psychological factors influence ethical decision-making by lawyers — has gained significant attention recently, including by many scholars who have called for a pedagogy that incorporates behavioral lessons into the professional responsibility curriculum. This Article provides one of the first comprehensive accounts of how law teachers can meet this challenge. Based on an approach that employs a variety of experiential techniques to immerse students in the contextual and emotional aspects of legal practice, it provides a detailed model of how to teach legal ethics from a behavioral perspective. Reflections on the approach, including the encouraging response expressed by students to this interdisciplinary method of instruction, are also discussed."

As I have said many times on this blog, law students need to be exposed to how cognitive biases affect their thinking and the thinking of others.  Professor Eldred does an excellent job of showing how an ethics teacher can integrate these lessons into a professional responsibility course.  All legal ethics professors need to read this article.

(Scott Fruehwald)

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