(Program to be published in the Journal of the Legal Profession)
Steven H. Hobbs, The University of Alabama
Elizabeth A. Alston, Member, Alston Law Firm, LLC, Mandeville, Louisiana
Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, University of New Mexico
Richard W. Painter, University of Illinois
Russell G. Pearce, Fordham University
W. Bradley Wendel, Washington and Lee University
In keeping with the theme of the Annual Meeting, we want to examine and reflect upon the task of teaching professional responsibility in an era of fast-paced changes. Certainly, our subject matter has evolved significantly since professional responsibility became a mandatory curriculum entry in the mid-seventies. Our thinking and our scholarship on the subject have become deep and sophisticated as its margins have expanded exponentially. The practice of law and the regulation of lawyers have become increasingly diverse and complex as we experience the rush of specialization, globalization, technology, multidisciplinary and multijurisdictional practice, and the economics of contemporary practice. The challenge for teachers of professional responsibility is not only to keep up with the often daunting changes, but also to reflect upon exactly what our goals and objectives are in teaching the course.
There is a broad spectrum of opinion on what should be the goals and objectives of the course. Should we teach the Model Rules and the Law of Lawyering, focusing on conveying basic knowledge of the subject and the analytical techniques and skills needed to understand the fundamental doctrines of legal ethics? Should we focus on concepts of traditional professionalism and the core values of the profession, assuming we can agree on an accepted common canon? Should we teach the habits of good lawyering through lawyer stories and literature, which considers the moral role of lawyers in our larger society? Can we even encourage our students to aspire to the highest levels of professional competence and personal integrity through our teaching materials and methods? Further, course content and coverage questions also challenge us as we select from a wide range of available materials.
Many of our colleagues have considered these questions or variants of them in your scholarship and other venues. This is clearly a dialogue we should expand and seriously reflect upon our role as teachers of students who will face new and multilayered challenges in the effective, competent and ethical practice of law in the 21st century.
Business Meeting at Program Conclusion