The very untimely death of Stanford’s Professor Deborah Rhode last week has robbed the legal academy of a distinctive voice and powerful commentator on legal ethics and the work of the legal profession. For those who don’t know Deborah’s story well, Stanford has published an excellent memorial here. My UK colleagues, Steven Vaughan and Richard Moorhead, who are writing a chapter reflecting on Rhode’s In the Interests of Justice for a book I am editing, have also blogged on Deborah’s major contribution to legal ethics.
Although she will doubtless be remembered as one of the world’s most thoughtful and accessible scholars in legal ethics, Deborah also made a number of significant scholarly contributions to legal education policy and praxis, particularly though by no means exclusively in three areas: the teaching of legal ethics, and particularly the fostering of a pervasive approach to ethics in curriculum design; in considering the ongoing impact of legal education and training (regulation) on the access to justice crisis, and the role of law schools in building moral and value commitments in their students, particularly through pro bono activities. Latterly, Rhode also played a crucial part in highlighting the need for law schools to develop their students’ leadership capabilities. I’ve included this last one, notwithstanding that she personally wrote little about the pedagogy of leadership, because Deborah walked the walk in this (as in other aspects of her work) by developing one of the first US law school courses on leadership, and writing extensively on the nature of leadership, and moral leadership specifically.
Below, therefore, is a small contribution to memorialising Deborah’s impact, collating what I think is pretty much her entire opus of legal education scholarship, discounting journalism and some shorter symposium introductions/comments. This list also includes a couple of key papers on character and Bar admission, a topic which, while not directly on university legal education, is tangentially significant, given that admission processes remain a means by which many professional bodies exercise jurisdiction through a kind of credentialing, and thereby retain some control over access to the profession.
The list is well worth dipping into as a reminder of the quality of her thinking, the calibre of her writing, and what we will miss now that she is no longer with us. I particularly include her earlier works as a reminder of how long-standing many of our current concerns are (they are also a nice counter to what appears to be a growing loss of cultural memory within some Anglo-Australian legal education scholarship, that almost wilfully, it seems, ignores anything written more than a decade or two ago).
Deborah Rhode: A Legal Education Bibliography
Deborah L. Rhode, Leadership for Lawyers, 3rd edn, New York: Wolters Kluwer, 2020 (ch.2)
Deborah L. Rhode, Preparing Leaders: The Evolution of a Field and the Stresses of Leadership, 58 Santa Clara Law Review 411 (2019).
Deborah L. Rhode, Virtue and the Law: The Good Moral Character Requirement in Occupational Licensing, Bar Regulation, and Immigration Proceedings 45 Law & Social Inquiry 1027-1058 (2018).
Deborah L. Rhode, The Trouble With Lawyers, New York: Oxford University Press, 2015 (ch.6).
Deborah L. Rhode, Reforming American Legal Education and Legal Practice: Rethinking Licensing Structures and the Role of Nonlawyers in Delivering and Financing Legal Services, 16 Legal Ethics 243 (2013).
Deborah L. Rhode, Access to Justice: An Agenda for Legal Education and Research, 62 Journal of Legal Education 531 (2013).
Deborah L. Rhode, Legal Education: Rethinking the Problem, Reimagining the Reforms, 40 Pepperdine Law Review 437 (2013).
Deborah L. Rhode, Teaching Legal Ethics, 51 Saint Louis University Law Journal 1043 (2007).
Deborah L. Rhode, The Professional Ethics of Professors, 56 Journal of Legal Education 70 (2006).
Deborah L. Rhode, In Pursuit of Knowledge: Scholars, Status, and Academic Culture, Stanford: Stanford Law and Politics, 2006.
Deborah L. Rhode, Midcourse Corrections: Women in Legal Education, 53 Journal of Legal Education 475-488 (2003).
Deborah L. Rhode, Legal Scholarship (Symposium: Law, Knowledge, and the Academy), 115 Harvard Law Review 1327-1361 (2002).
Deborah L. Rhode (ed), Ethics in Practice: Lawyers’ Roles, Responsibilities, and Regulation, New York: Oxford University Press, 2000 (ch. 13).
Deborah L. Rhode, The Pro Bono Responsibilities of Lawyers and Law Students, 27 William Mitchell Law Review 1201-1216 (2000).
Deborah L. Rhode, Legal Education: Professional Interests and Public Values, 34 Indiana Law Review 23-46 (2000).
Deborah L. Rhode, In the Interests of Justice : Reforming the Legal Profession, New York: Oxford University Press, 2000 (ch. 7).
Deborah L. Rhode, The Professional Responsibilities of Professional Schools, 49 Journal of Legal Education 24-40 (1999).
Deborah L. Rhode, Cultures of Commitment: Pro Bono for Lawyers and Law Students, 67 Fordham Law Review 2415-2447 (1999).
Deborah L. Rhode, Learning to Serve, Washington, D.C.: AALS Commission on Pro Bono and Public Opportunities, 1999 (report).
Deborah L. Rhode, Annotated Bibliography of Educational Materials on Legal Ethics, 11 Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 1029-1063 (1998).
Deborah L. Rhode, Professional Responsibility: Ethics by the Pervasive Method, New York: Aspen Law and Business, 1998.
Deborah L. Rhode, The Professional Responsibilities of Professional Schools: Pervasive Ethics in Perspective, in American Bar Association, Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar,Teaching and Learning Professionalism: Symposium Proceedings, October 2-4, 1996, Oak Brook, Illinois, Chicago: American Bar Association, 1997.
Deborah L. Rhode, Whistling Vivaldi: Legal Education and the Politics of Progress, 23 New York University Review of Law and Social Change 217-224 (1997) [A short introductory piece, but one of her best titles!].
Deborah L. Rhode, Into the Valley of Ethics: Professional Responsibility and Education Reform, 58 Law and Contemporary Problems 139-151 (1995).
Deborah L. Rhode, Ethics by the Pervasive Method, 42 Journal of Legal Education 31-56 (1992) [including the heartfelt “[t]here are inherent problems and infinite ways to fail in teaching this subject…”]
Deborah L. Rhode, Professional Ethics and Professional Education, 1 Professional Ethics 31-72 (1992).
Deborah L. Rhode, Moral Character as a Professional Credential, 94 Yale Law Journal 491-603 (1985).