Teaching Behavioral Legal Ethics

EthicsI just posted the draft of my article, Insights from Psychology: Teaching Behavioral Legal Ethics as a Core Element of Professional Responsibility, ___ Mich. St. L. Rev. ___ (2016) (forthcoming). In it, I describe how I incorporate lessons from behavioral science into the survey course I teach on professional responsibility. I have discussed some of these techniques before (for example, here, here and here), but this article explores these themes and ideas in much more detail.

Here is the abstract:

The field of behavioral legal ethics ā€” which draws on a large body of empirical research to explore how subtle and often unconscious psychological factors influence ethical decision-making by lawyers ā€” 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.

 

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