The process of law school education is a time of moral formation for students but not always for the better. How should entering students be aware of this and respond accordingly? Second, many undergraduates desire to attend law school and become attorneys for noble reasons—to do social justice work or environmental law, for instance. But the fact is that, after being saddled by law school debt, many newly minted attorneys realize that, for practical purposes, “big law” is their only real option. Given this, how should this vast majority see their legal careers in an ethical light? How can the concept “legal ethics” be expanded to include more than merely pro bono work or following the correct protocol in one’s legal practice? What, in other words, about the everyday, “mundane” work of being a lawyer? How is it an opportunity for growing in virtue? And how can we understand it within a wider context or philosophy of human flourishing? In the context of these questions, four Duke Law professors will discuss the opportunities for and potential threats to human flourishing and moral excellence in the process of legal school education and the practice of law.
December 21, 2017