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Entering Law Students’ Conceptions of an Ethical Professional Identity and the Role of the Lawyer in Society


Verna Monson


University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) - University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis; Cultural Dynamics Consulting

Neil W. Hamilton


University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)

March 12, 2010

Journal of the Legal Profession, Vol. 35, No. 1, 2010

Abstract:     
Kegan’s theory of lifespan identity development framed a pilot study of law students’ understanding of professionalism, part of a broader study of ethical professional identity. Four raters trained in Kegan’s stage criteria could reliably assess one of three developmental stages, based on coding essays on professionalism. Correlations of stage scores with moral judgment scores, service learning, and work experience supported the validity of the method. Ethical professional identity assessment can be integrated with courses or mentoring programs to provide students with developmental feedback. This method can also be used to assess law school outcomes with respect to ethical professional identity by comparing growth from matriculation to graduation.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 28

Keywords: professionalism, ethical professional identity, epistemology, formative assessment, adult developmental

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Date posted: April 2, 2010 ; Last revised: March 7, 2011

Suggested Citation

Monson, Verna and Hamilton, Neil W., Entering Law Students’ Conceptions of an Ethical Professional Identity and the Role of the Lawyer in Society (March 12, 2010). Journal of the Legal Profession, Vol. 35, No. 1, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1581528 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1581528

Contact Information

Verna Monson (Contact Author)
University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) - University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis ( email )
Minneapolis, MN 55403
United States
Cultural Dynamics Consulting ( email )
55414
612 (Phone)
Neil W. Hamilton
University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota) ( email )
MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN Minnesota 55403-2005
United States
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