The Behavioral Legal Ethics blog, founded as a place for a wide-ranging discussion about the intersection between behavioral science, law and ethics, recently reached the milestone of 20,000 views. Recent blog entries include discussions of the psychology of wrongful convictions, the role of loss aversion in the Watergate scandal, and the psychological dimensions of the duty to report misconduct under rule 8.3 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. “We are proud that the blog has become an important venue in the legal community for the discussion of how lawyers actually make ethical decisions,” stated Professor Tigran Eldred, who co-founded the Behavioral Legal Ethics blog with Professor Molly J. Walker Wilson and Professor James G. Milles in 2014.
Thank you to everyone who visits the blog. It is much appreciated!
Professor W. Bradley Wendel
For a fascinating discussion of the role of behavioral ethics in the context of judicial decision-making, see W. Bradley Wendel, Campaign Contributions and Risk-Avoidance Rules in Judicial Ethics, 67 DePaul L. Rev. 255 (2018). Professor Wendel’s work contrasts the rules of judicial recusal from those of attorney conflicts, making the argument that the former should more closely track the latter. Behavioral ethics research sits at the center of the paper. From the introduction (footnotes omitted):
“Well-understood, predictable psychological mechanisms create ‘blind spots’ in which the effect of a conflict of interest is not apparent to someone subject to it. The effect of campaign contributions on judges’ perceptions of bias is often unconscious. To make matters worse, judges also remain unaware of their unawareness resulting in a persistent and difficult-to-dispel illusion of objectivity. Judges, like other professionals, believe their ethical commitments are sufficient to withstand the bias effects of external factors, such as financial conflicts of interest.”