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Why Not Model Rules of Conduct for Law Students

43 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2011  

Len Biernat

Hamline University - School of Law; Hamline University

Date Written: January 1, 1985


For the past several years the legal profession, or at least part of the profession active in the American Bar Association (ABA), has engaged in a spirited debate over the proposed ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Just as practicing lawyers are investigating their position within the profession by reviewing ethical standards, other members of the profession should be engaging in similar dialogue in order to ascertain their professional obligations. Each of these groups such as educators, legislators, administrators, government lawyers, and law students needs to determine how it fits into the legal profession and what unique ethical standards it needs. This article will examine one of these groups – law students. The article examines the concept of professionalism as it relates to both lawyers and law students in order to ascertain the function and limitations of the law school in the professionalization process. The first section of the article separates “professionalism” and “responsibility” in order to demonstrate that students arrive at the law school with their sense of responsibility developed. This limits what a law school can do in attempting to inculcate professional responsibility. An effective way for students to experience responsibility is through the use of a professional code of conduct for students under which they are given greater responsibilities. The final section of the article contains proposed Model Rules of Conduct for Law Students.

Keywords: Model Rules of Professional Conduct, law student, American Bar Association, professionalism, responsibility

Suggested Citation

Biernat, Len, Why Not Model Rules of Conduct for Law Students (January 1, 1985). Florida State University Law Review, Vol. 12, p. 781, 1985. Available at SSRN:

Len Biernat (Contact Author)

Hamline University - School of Law ( email )

1536 Hewitt Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104-1237
United States

Hamline University ( email )

1536 Hewitt Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55104
United States

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