Introduction: Symposium on Lawyers' Special Responsibilities as Public Citizens in a Rapidly Changing World
8 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2016
Date Written: 2011
The program topic was intended to create a focus on how lawyers' special responsibilities for the quality of justice in our society are undergoing new challenges in the face of many new influences on the legal profession. We recognized that recent world events have led to enormous new pressures on, and potential transformations in, conventional understandings of lawyers' professional responsibilities. The worldwide economic crisis and its causal link to financial practices in which some lawyers were complicit, coupled with lawyers' roles in a host of recent corporate scandals, have shifted attention back to lawyers' professional responsibilities to safeguard the public purposes of regulatory law. The challenge of combating terrorism while preserving treasured lawyering traditions that protect individual civil liberties against state encroachment has raised difficult new dilemmas. Persisting economic and social inequalities continue to pose a host of questions about lawyers' special responsibilities, if any, to work for social justice.
At the same time, globalization has led to increased linkages among lawyers as well as increasing competitive pressures and new experiments in legal services arrangements. All of these new issues confronting lawyers in a rapidly changing world raise important questions about how we should teach new generations of lawyers to assume their places in the legal profession as special citizens with potentially unique duties as guardians of justice.
Keywords: legal ethics, social responsibility
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