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The ethical identity of law students

Moorhead, Richard, Denvir, Catrina, Cahill-O’Callaghan, Rachel, Kouchaki, Maryam and Galoob, Stephen (2016) The ethical identity of law students. International Journal of the Legal Profession, 23 (3). pp. 235-275. [Journal article]

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URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09695958.2016.1231462

DOI: doi:10.1080/09695958.2016.1231462

Abstract

This paper uses measures of values, moral outlook and professional identity to explore the ethical and professional identity of law students. We do so in two jurisdictions, surveying 441 students studying in England and Wales and 569 students studying in the US. The survey covers the first and final years of an undergraduate law degree and the postgraduate vocational stage in England and Wales, as well as students in all years of the JD programme in the US. We explore whether law students towards the end of their legal education have ethical identities predictive of less ethical conduct than those at the beginning of their legal education; whether law students intending careers in business law have values and profiles consistent with less ethical conduct than those intending to work for government or individuals; and what factors might explain these differences in ethical outlook. Our findings suggest that ethical identity is strongly associated with gender and career intentions. They also suggest weaker moral identities for students intending to practise business law. Ultimately, our findings support a conclusion that is more nuanced than the predominant theses about the impact of legal education on student ethicality which tend to suggest legal education diminishes ethicality.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Ethicality, Professional Ethics, Professional identity, Law Students, Legal Education
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Law
Faculty of Social Sciences
ID Code:36177
Deposited By: Dr Catrina Denvir
Deposited On:09 Nov 2016 14:18
Last Modified:17 Oct 2017 16:26

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