Internalizing a Fiduciary Mindset to Put the Client First
Professional Lawyer, Vol. 24 No. 3 (2017)
10 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2017 Last revised: 2 Feb 2018
Date Written: December 13, 2017
Every client needs to trust that his or her lawyer is dedicated to care for the client with all of the lawyer’s ability. Deep care for the client is the principal foundation for client trust in both the individual lawyer and the profession itself. This is essentially a fiduciary disposition or fiduciary mindset, using “fiduciary” in the general meaning of founded on trustworthiness. Each law student and new lawyer must learn to internalize a responsibility to put both the client’s and the legal system’s interests before the lawyer’s self-interest.
This article explores how to foster each student’s fiduciary mindset. The teacher must help each student internalize the core principles and ideals of the profession into the student’s existing tradition regarding the question “what are my responsibilities to others?” The article presents several stage development models to help clarify the developmental process each student is undertaking.
Keywords: professional formation, professional identity, professionalism, law student employment; fiduciary
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