Ethics, Morality, and Professional Responsibility

Despite unprecedented demand for admission to law schools and an unequaled record of public leadership and service by graduates of law schools, the legal profession is still the subject of widespread public misunderstanding and mistrust. For example, a recent nationwide survey of adults in all income groups, conducted by the American Bar Association Special Committee to Survey Legal Needs, of which I am a member, shows that more than one-third of our fellow Americans believe that most lawyers would engage in unethical or illegal activities to help a client in an important case, and that more than one-third also believe that lawyers are not concerned about doing anything about “the bad apples” in the legal profession. The qualities of greatest importance to this decision were the lawyer’s general reputation and his ethical standards, including honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness. The number of persons who mentioned these qualities was three times the number who mentioned competence.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 16:4
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