The LEAD Curriculum and Projects
Ethics and Professionalism
The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct recognize in the Preamble that "[a] lawyer, as a member of the legal profession, is a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice." For too long, however, lawyers' primary, if not sole, guidance for wading through this complex set of conflicting roles has been limited to the Model Rules.
In the Ethics and Professionalism component, the School of Law will work with ethics
teachers and scholars, judges, and lawyers to develop courses, case studies, materials, and community outreach projects to more effectively teach legal ethics and professional responsibility. These will include:
- Development of Methods of Teaching Professionalism Across the Curriculum. This will include teaching an ethics issue to incoming students during orientation week, the development and use of case studies in a variety of courses, including core, first-year, first-semester courses such as contracts and torts and adding an ethics problem to the second semester brief-writing exercise in the first-years' second semester writing course, Written and Oral Advocacy. Also underway is a clinical rounds project in which clinical students will present actual ethical or professionalism dilemmas arising from their practice to larger groups of legal profession students, who will then issue advisory opinions in response.
- New Professionalism Course Offerings. As part of the development of the new LEAD curriculum, the School of Law is offering or developing several new courses.
- Professional Responsibility: The Rules and Reality examines practice-based ethical issues that are not resolved by the Rules of Professional Conduct and responds to recent criticisms of legal education in the Carnegie Foundation's
Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law, a multi-year study of legal education, by creating space for law students to develop habits of self-reflection and self-analysis as they craft their professional identities as legal practitioners. Professor Brenda Bratton Blom developed, taught, and is continuing to refine this course for law students concurrently enrolled in clinical and legal practice and theory courses.
- In Lawyers and Legal Systems and Their Social Context, Professors Michael Millemann and Robert Bowie, Jr. and their students write and produce short theatrical works that raise issues about justice and the role of the legal profession. The inspiration for the course came from Readers Theater programs at three medical schools in North Carolina (Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and East Carolina University), which were designed to explore the ethical challenges doctors face. At the conclusion of the course, the professors produced a short video that contains excerpts from the play, a conversation with Walter Arvinger, the man on whom the play is based, as well as student reactions to their experience in the course.
- Interviewing Legal Professionals About the Development of Their Moral Judgment. This project enables students to gather stories from lawyers who exemplify the ideals of the profession and then create a downloadable podcast. This project builds upon the Indiana University School of Medicine's
Relationship-Centered Care Project. The first eight podcasts are available now.
- Creation of a Network of Lawyers and Legal Scholars. Bonnie Allen initially convened this group at the Center for Law and Renewal in March 2007. This network of academics, judges and practicing lawyers will analyze important professional responsibility issues that arise "beyond the rules" of professional responsibility, discuss ways in which law schools can more effectively teach legal ethics and professional responsibility, and gather a variety of teaching materials that will be available as an online resource.