Lawyers in Practice: Ethical Decision Making in Context: A Mirror and Window for Understanding Ethics of Law Practice

25 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2014

Date Written: January 7, 2014

Abstract

This piece reviews the book, “Lawyers in Practice: Ethical Decision Making in Context.” The book’s editors, Leslie Levin and Lynn Mather, assembled an impressive group of scholars and practitioners who use empirical research to study ethical decision making by lawyers. After introductory material, individual chapters examine the struggles of lawyers who work in particular practice areas. Each chapter considers psychological angles, as well as environmental and organizational influences that impact lawyers’ conduct, the commonalities that lawyers experience in dealing with ethical dilemmas, and the courses that lawyers take in attempting to avoid ethical minefields. Part I of the review first discusses the basic structure of the book and its premises. Part II identifies the various groups that would be interested in reading the book. Part III examines themes that run throughout the book, including the importance of “communities of practice.” The review explains how the reading the book acts as both a window and mirror. First, as a window, the book provides an opportunity to peer into others’ practices and learn from their experiences. Second, the book serves as a mirror for lawyers to reflect on their own ethics, approaches, and perceptions of their work. Through this exercise, lawyers come to appreciate that ethical decision making is a skill that can be developed.

Keywords: empirical research, law practice, ethical decisionmaking, communities of practice, organizational controls, environmental influences

JEL Classification: K10, K20, L20, L22

Suggested Citation

Fortney, Susan Saab, Lawyers in Practice: Ethical Decision Making in Context: A Mirror and Window for Understanding Ethics of Law Practice (January 7, 2014). Legal Ethics (2013); Hofstra Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2375808

Susan Saab Fortney (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States
817-212-3902 (Phone)

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