Should legal ethics be taught at the academic stage #2

In response to my previous post, there’s an interesting comment on the Canadian situation by Paul Paton over at Legal Ethics Forum:

“‘Interesting Canadian Development’ Alert — This is a debate that some (including Brent Cotter, Richard Devlin, Alice Woolley and I, amongst others) tried to ensure got attention in Canada. A report of a Task Force of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (an umbrella group of provincial regulators)on the Canadian common law degree last fall recommended that the Federation “should require applicants seeking entry to bar admission programs to demonstrate that they have had specific instruction in ethics and professionalism, in a stand-alone course dedicated to the subject.” There was fierce resistance from some quarters (including at my old shop north of the border) to being told what courses they had to include. Mercifully other more enlightened places (like Brent’s, Alice’s, Richard’s schools and others) have made a course in legal ethics/professional responsibility mandatory. I’ll be writing more on this in a comparative context but I look forward to the discussion at ILEC. [Even though I’m in the US I chair the Canadian Bar Association’s National Ethics and Professional Issues Committee in 2009-2010 and the issue has had no traction in that venue, sigh].”


2 responses to “Should legal ethics be taught at the academic stage #2

  1. Having taught Professional Responsibility in the US where it is mandatory, I found my views change dramatically. I had prior to that been on the purely elective side but now I think it should be taught in UK law schools. British students have been bombarded with the view that the market is the prime determinant of all that is good. Education in values, or belief in values, has dropped off entirely. We need to restore balance.

    The extent to which lawyers can be included as a cause in the financial crisis–as opposed to only bankers–hasn’t been calculated. But some part they must have played. After all who put all the necessary documentation together?

    If we don’t get the students near the beginning of their education, they will be lost or more resistant to thinking that takes them away from the paramountcy of the market. So leaving it to the LPC is too late. Education in ethics and the profession should take place at the undergraduate level.

    I fail to see how anyone could challenge that.

  2. Pingback: Should legal ethics be taught at the academic stage #2 « NTULawLibrary Blog

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