The Positive Empirical Relationship of Professionalism to Effectiveness in the Practice of Law

56 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2009 Last revised: 25 Dec 2010

Neil W. Hamilton

University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)

Verna Monson

University of St. Thomas; Cultural Dynamics Consulting

Date Written: November 2010

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between professionalism and effectiveness through a review of empirical literature from the social sciences and the professions. In both peer-reviewed and industry studies, increased capacities for professionalism (e.g. personal conscience defined as perceptual clarity and empathy, moral judgment, moral identity, and moral implementation skills) were related to a wide range of effectiveness outcomes as assessed by clients and experienced professionals. These effectiveness outcomes include (1) increased satisfaction with the professional’s services, (2) decreased likelihood the professional experiences malpractice claims or complaints, and (3) increased likelihood the professional will detect or report wrongdoing. Evidence indicates that professionalism is not a fixed trait, but rather it can be enhanced and developed across the career span.

Keywords: Professionalism, professional responsibility, professions, moral judgment, conscience, legal profession, legal malpractice

Suggested Citation

Hamilton, Neil W. and Monson, Verna, The Positive Empirical Relationship of Professionalism to Effectiveness in the Practice of Law (November 2010). Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Vol. 24, Forthcoming); U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-22. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1495824 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1495824

Neil W. Hamilton (Contact Author)

University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota) ( email )

MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN Minnesota 55403-2005
United States

Verna Monson

University of St. Thomas ( email )

Minneapolis, MN 55403
United States

Cultural Dynamics Consulting ( email )

55414
612 (Phone)

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