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Flash: Law School to 'Frontload' Ethics

Earlier this year, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching condemned law schools for failing to support students in developing ethical and practice skills and for giving only casual attention to teaching students how to use legal thinking. At least one school took the news seriously. As Indiana University School of Law professor William Henderson reports at the blog Empirical Legal Studies, Indiana is revising its first-year curriculum to add a four-credit course on the legal profession. He writes:

"[D]rawing upon carefully edited ethnographies and empirical studies, the course will provide students with a systematic overview of various practice settings.  Obviously, workplace structure and incentives vary widely between large law firms, plaintiffs' lawyers, mill practice, prosecutors, public interest lawyers, etc.  If students have a better theoretical and factual understanding of the modern legal marketplace, they can better understand the subtle factors that push lawyers to cross ethical lines -- and the serious consequences that can follow."

By "frontloading" legal ethics in this way, Henderson says, the school hopes to address the issue flagged by Carnegie and others "that legal education tends to marginalize ethics, morality, and personal and professional values."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 24, 2007 at 03:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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