Insights from Psychology: Teaching Behavioral Legal Ethics as a Core Element of Professional Responsibility

60 Pages Posted: 2 May 2016 Last revised: 16 Jan 2017

Tigran Eldred

New England Law | Boston

Date Written: December 5, 2016

Abstract

The field of behavioral legal ethics — which draws on a large body of empirical research to explore how subtle and often unconscious psychological factors influence ethical decision-making by lawyers — has gained significant attention recently, including by many scholars who have called for a pedagogy that incorporates behavioral lessons into the professional responsibility curriculum. This Article provides one of the first comprehensive accounts of how law teachers can meet this challenge. Based on an approach that employs a variety of experiential techniques to immerse students in the contextual and emotional aspects of legal practice, it provides a detailed model of how to teach legal ethics from a behavioral perspective. Reflections on the approach, including the encouraging response expressed by students to this interdisciplinary method of instruction, are also discussed.

Keywords: Professional Responsibility, Legal Ethics, Behavioral Legal Ethics, Law & Psychology, Legal Education

Suggested Citation

Eldred, Tigran, Insights from Psychology: Teaching Behavioral Legal Ethics as a Core Element of Professional Responsibility (December 5, 2016). 2016 Mich. St. L. Rev. 757; New England Law | Boston Research Paper No. 16-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2773777

Tigran Eldred (Contact Author)

New England Law | Boston ( email )

154 Stuart St.
Boston, MA 02116
United States
617-368-1433 (Phone)

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