Professionalisms Old and New, Good and Bad

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“Professionalism” traditionally referred to a set of ideals of service to clients and the public, performed in accord with standards of craft and ethics defined and enforced by independent self-regulating professions. Professional ideals are under assault as snobbish and anti -competitive; and professional practices are being eroded by economic pressures to sacrifice the interests of weaker clients, and yield to the improper demands of strong ones, for the sake of profit. In law, examples are frequent of even prominent and respectable lawyers bending or nullifying legal constraints on clients' conduct. Lawyers look to law schools to revive professional ethics and standards; but law teaching, though it could and should be improved, will be futile unless reinforced by leading practitioners and their firms, and stronger standards enacted by regulatory authorities and professional associations.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Legal Ethics is an international and interdisciplinary journal devoted to the field of legal ethics.
    The journal provides an intellectual meeting ground for academic lawyers, practitioners and policy-makers to debate developments shaping the ethics of law and its practice at the micro and macro levels.
    Its focus is broad enough to encompass empirical research on the ethics and conduct of the legal professions and judiciary, studies of legal ethics education and moral development, ethics development in contemporary professional practice, the ethical responsibilities of law schools, professional bodies and government, and jurisprudential or wider philosophical reflections on law as an ethical system and on the moral obligations of individual lawyers.
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