The role of skills, ethics and values in legal practice

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Traditionally, law school provided us with a wealth of legal knowledge (much of which was outdated by the time we entered practice) but it did not teach us what to do with the law. Fortunately, in the 30 years or so since Savoy wrote about his numbing experience, most law schools have made room in their curricula to teach skills. It is now widely acknowledged that one of the goals of undergraduate legal education is to introduce students to the basic skills required in legal practice. More recently, some law schools also aspire to instil professional values in their students. These changes have been propelled by recommendations from law reform agencies and legal educators. For instance, in its Managing Justice Report published in 2000, the Australian Law Reform Commission recommended that: "In addition to the study of core areas of substantive law, university legal education in Australia should involve the development of high level professional skills and a deep appreciation of ethical standards and professional responsibility". Some authors even assert that law schools have an obligation to expose students to skills and values. The authors of a recent influential report on legal education in the United States concluded that law schools have "a commitment to prepare students to practice law effectively and responsibly in the contexts they are likely to encounter as new lawyers'. There are a number of compelling reasons why students should consider skills and values to be important matters to learn at law school. These are discussed later in the chapter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSkills, ethics and values for legal practice
EditorsBobette Wolski
Place of PublicationPrymont
PublisherLawbook Co.
Number of pages44
ISBN (Print)9780455225920
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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    Wolski, B. (2009). The role of skills, ethics and values in legal practice. In B. Wolski (Ed.), Skills, ethics and values for legal practice (2nd ed., pp. 1-43). Lawbook Co..