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How to Nurture Ethical Practice in the Legal Profession

In the two years since the Moser Ethics in Action  (EIA) Initiative was launched, it has developed new curriculum, launched a “roving professor” pilot program, and created executive training sessions in professionalism – all as part of EIA’s mission to help students and young lawyers establish professional, ethical identities that serve larger purposes and values.

“We explore both the theoretical and practical dimensions of professionalism in the course,” notes Distinguished Visiting Professor Sheldon Krantz, a former litigation partner at DLA Piper who also directed New Perimeter, its global pro bono affiliate; Krantz now teaches the Legal Profession Seminar, a new addition to the UM  Carey Law curriculum made possible by the Moser EIA Initiative. 

Launched in September 2011 with a $1 million endowment from the Moser Family Philanthropic Fund, the Initiative honors the late Baltimore attorney M. Peter Moser, whose leadership in promoting professionalism and pro bono service was recognized by the Baltimore, Maryland and American Bar Associations.

“We need to do more to develop law students and young lawyers,” says alumnus Mark Gately, ’77, a partner at Hogan Lovells and an experienced litigator, who plans to visit the law school in the fall to talk with students about professionalism in private practice.  “Young lawyers need to know that being ethical, professional and honest, which is to say, being credible, is utterly and completely critical to their ability to resolve complex legal issues successfully. Whether you are dealing with a jury, a judge, a law clerk or your opponent, to succeed, you need credibility.”

To help students learn how to practice credibly, the “roving professor” pilot project brings experienced ethics professors into other professors’ courses to focus greater attention on professionalism issues.  The law school’s orientation sessions for first-year students have also increased their focus on ethics. Executive training sessions introduce professionalism skills to young associates in law firms.

When M. Peter Moser died in 2008, Elizabeth Moser, his widow, thought long and hard about how best to memorialize him. Her husband of almost 60 years, a Baltimore attorney in private practice, was a recognized expert in business, estate and tax law. But his passion was professionalism and ethics.

“His grandfather and father had been judges in Baltimore City,” Moser said of her husband. “He loved the law, and he wanted lawyers to hold themselves to the highest standards.”

To engage the larger legal community, the Moser family has issued a $250,000 matching challenge to other philanthropic supporters. Additional funding through the match will allow for expansion of the law school’s important work focusing on ethics, professionalism and leadership.

For more information, please contact Heather Spurrier at hspurrier@law.umaryland.edu or 410.706.5773.


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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Copyright © 2014, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved