f/k/a . . . the archives

August 27, 2003

Do Law Schools (Or Ethics Classes) Make You More Ethical Or Less Ethical?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:15 pm

Homework Assignment:  Be prepared, after Labor Day, to discuss the above question.  [inspired by this article, via Overlawyered.com, and The Legal Reader, and MyShingle.] 

 

Read and Compare:

 

(1) Excerpt and posting from Sandefur’s Blog (August 1, 2003) (emphasis added):


I know I’m new, and na

10 Comments

  1. Do ethics classes make you more ethical? No, reward systems make you more ethical or less so whether you are a lawyer, a military officer, or a Catholic priest, or any other occupation.

    It is strictly against medical ethics for a doctor to have sex with a patient. Nowhere is this more true than in psychiatry. A survey in 1986 of 1,057 male and 366 female psychiatrists revealed that 7% of the men and 3% of the women had had sex with their patients. Yet, the greater scandal is the result of the second survey, which reported that two-thirds of the psychiatrists discovered evidence of colleagues having had sex with patients but only 8% of them reported it. The penalty for being a stool pigeon is high while the benefit is nil so few of them do it.

    According to Alan Dershowitz, the disbarment of Roy Cohn was a case of selective prosecution. That is a claim that many other lawyers are as culpable as Cohn yet were not penalized for similar offenses such as perjury and forgery. Yet, if this is true, why hasn’t Dershowitz reported them? The reputation of the legal profession rests on the shoulders of all of the lawyers who are obliged not only to obey but to enforce legal ethics as officers of the court but like Dershowitz most of them just shrug.

    Comment by John J. Olson — September 3, 2003 @ 5:11 pm

  2. Do ethics classes make you more ethical? No, reward systems make you more ethical or less so whether you are a lawyer, a military officer, or a Catholic priest, or any other occupation.

    It is strictly against medical ethics for a doctor to have sex with a patient. Nowhere is this more true than in psychiatry. A survey in 1986 of 1,057 male and 366 female psychiatrists revealed that 7% of the men and 3% of the women had had sex with their patients. Yet, the greater scandal is the result of the second survey, which reported that two-thirds of the psychiatrists discovered evidence of colleagues having had sex with patients but only 8% of them reported it. The penalty for being a stool pigeon is high while the benefit is nil so few of them do it.

    According to Alan Dershowitz, the disbarment of Roy Cohn was a case of selective prosecution. That is a claim that many other lawyers are as culpable as Cohn yet were not penalized for similar offenses such as perjury and forgery. Yet, if this is true, why hasn’t Dershowitz reported them? The reputation of the legal profession rests on the shoulders of all of the lawyers who are obliged not only to obey but to enforce legal ethics as officers of the court but like Dershowitz most of them just shrug.

    Comment by John J. Olson — September 3, 2003 @ 5:11 pm

  3. Thanks for a provocative and thoughtful Comment.  It’s disappointing that so few lawyers take the responsibility to report serious ethical violations that they know about.   As I have stated elsewhere on this site, it is even more disappointing that bar counsel often ignore complaints by lawyers, because most of the ones they do receive are poorly disguised attempts to injure a competitor (e.g., complaints about purportedly deceptive ads).   The legal profession, like most other privileged groups in our society, does too good of a job “rewarding” those who go along to get along and penalizing those who rock the boat.  I believe that the most effective “rewards system” for achieving ethical conduct is the inner reward and self-respect that each person can feel when he or she does the right, ethical thing.   I have no idea how to produce such a system in individuals who lack it.  Certainly, attorney self-regulation has has not been the solution.
     

    Comment by David Giacalone — September 3, 2003 @ 10:12 pm

  4. Thanks for a provocative and thoughtful Comment.  It’s disappointing that so few lawyers take the responsibility to report serious ethical violations that they know about.   As I have stated elsewhere on this site, it is even more disappointing that bar counsel often ignore complaints by lawyers, because most of the ones they do receive are poorly disguised attempts to injure a competitor (e.g., complaints about purportedly deceptive ads).   The legal profession, like most other privileged groups in our society, does too good of a job “rewarding” those who go along to get along and penalizing those who rock the boat.  I believe that the most effective “rewards system” for achieving ethical conduct is the inner reward and self-respect that each person can feel when he or she does the right, ethical thing.   I have no idea how to produce such a system in individuals who lack it.  Certainly, attorney self-regulation has has not been the solution.
     

    Comment by David Giacalone — September 3, 2003 @ 10:12 pm

  5. yes, i need to learn ethics

    Comment by helin — September 17, 2003 @ 8:44 am

  6. yes, i need to learn ethics

    Comment by helin — September 17, 2003 @ 8:44 am

  7. in order to be more ethical or less ethical?
    are you a koan law expert? 
    Nova Scotia must be lovely this time of year.  enjoy 

    Comment by David Giacalone — September 17, 2003 @ 10:54 am

  8. in order to be more ethical or less ethical?
    are you a koan law expert? 
    Nova Scotia must be lovely this time of year.  enjoy 

    Comment by David Giacalone — September 17, 2003 @ 10:54 am

  9. Thank you for the info. http://www.bignews.com

    Comment by Sofia — August 25, 2005 @ 4:49 am

  10. Thank you for the info. http://www.bignews.com

    Comment by Sofia — August 25, 2005 @ 4:49 am

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