The Ethical Development of Lawyers: An Empirical Investigation
Appendix D - Descriptive Statistics. Demographic Variables x Categories.pdf (67.26Kb)(embargoed until: 2020-11-01)
Henderson, Joshua J. A.
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CitationHenderson, Joshua J. A. 2018. The Ethical Development of Lawyers: An Empirical Investigation. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThe purpose of this article is to examine the evolution of lawyers’ ethical values as they progress through their career from law school to retirement. Specifically, using an empirical study of 2711 people who have graduated or will graduate from law school, this article examines the role that age, sex, religion, ethnicity, class, disability, debt load, practice area and location, and school, all play in forming the ethical beliefs of lawyers along three continuums; 1) their general ethical outlook (do they believe in and adhere to high levels of ethicality or not?), 2) their belief in the role of personal morality in the lawyering process (should lawyers be moral agents or zealous advocates?), and 3) their view of the appropriateness of the commercialization of law (is law a profession or a business?). This article is a follow up study to one previously published in 2009. While the earlier study focused on the ethical development of law students only, this reiteration significantly broadens the scope and depth of the research by focusing on the ethical development of lawyers.
Numerous statistically significant results were observed, including:
1) Students who graduate with high debt loads are more likely to view the law as a business to make money and view themselves and others in the profession as less ethical.
2) Lawyers tend adopt the view that the law is a profession for the good of society and view themselves and others in the profession as more ethical as they age.
3) Female lawyers are more likely to incorporate personal morals into their practice and view the law as a profession, while males are more likely to view the law as a business to make money and more strongly believe that lawyers should be zealous advocates.
4) Both male and female law students learn the role of zealous advocate within the first 6 months of law school, after which time their view is largely solidified.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42004022