Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of the Legal Profession



Publication Date



legal ethics, teaching legal ethics, teaching ethics, law school curriculum


Despite what seems to be far greater attention paid to the teaching of legal ethics than to any other law school subject, legal ethics remains no better than a second class subject in the eyes of students and faculty. This essay suggests that all efforts at innovation in legal ethics teaching are doomed to a marginal impact at best. Only recognition that legal ethics is the most important subject in the law school curriculum will lead to real and significant changes in the teaching of legal ethics. If the commitment of the legal profession and of legal academia to producing ethical lawyers is genuine, legal ethics must be the most important subject in the curriculum. Properly taught, ethics courses should provide the lens through which students view what it means to be a lawyer and discover how to find meaning in their work. From a pragmatic perspective as well, legal ethics is the only subject in law school "which every student [who becomes a lawyer] will encounter in practice." This recognition of the significance of teaching legal ethics would require farreaching revision of the law school curriculum.