Professional Responsibility


  Jean Whitney Jean M. Whitney
Ralph Denton Professor of Law


  Poster presentation on Whitney's Professional Responsibility course -- presented at the 2009 AALS Annual Meeting

The Assignment: Professional Responsibility Profiles
In my Professional Responsibility course, I not only want the students to understand the rules that govern lawyers but I want them to think about how they will incorporate the rules into their professional lives and prepare for confronting the moral and ethical dilemmas they will almost certainly face.

This “Personal PR Profile”assignment, which I developed over the past several years, is an easy way to achieve two important goals of legal education - 1) to help students acquire the attributes of effective, responsible lawyers and 2) to employ best practices in the delivery of the instruction. Roy Stuckey, Best Practices for Legal Education, 1(CLEA 2007). Assigning it also helped me to make it clear to students that they don’t have to abandon their personal values and their sense of self or their creativity. My reward was these wonderfully creative submissions and very positive reactions
from the students!

The Instructions
The goal of this assignment is to give you an opportunity to think about how you will incorporate the standards you learn in this course into your professional life and develop a personalized set of ethical rules and values to use as you begin your career as a lawyer. Your Personal PR Profile should describe the kind of lawyer you want to be and why you want to be that kind of a lawyer.

Types of Profiles

Pure Reflections:
Journal-like reflections based on class or current events.
• Reflections on PR issues in the news
• Journal of personal reactions to discussion, readings and problems from class

Comparative or Analytical Reflections:
Commentary about how issues, problems, readings, and discussion relate to other experiences or standards in their lives.
• Comparison of MRPC & ethics rules for psychotherapists
• Reflections on situations encountered in a job

Interpretive or Representational Reflections:
Interpretation, application, or transformation of the ideas and issues covered in class into other forms of expression.
• Short story modeled after Poe’s “A Telltale Heart”
• Choose-Your-Own -Adventure story about different paths lawyer could take
• Scrapbooks

Practical Applications:
Creation of practical things that communicate or remind self of professional ethics.
• Letter to a child making commitment about kind of lawyer student
wants to be
• Daily PR meditation

Story about putting rules in action
"Dilemmas of Lawyer Advertising"
PR Self Portrait
"The Declaration of Professional Responsibility"
18" x 24" parchment
3 Part video parody on Las Vegas Ethics
Blog with discussion, quizzes, top 10 lists & more
Firm Newsletter with Client Bill of Rights
How-to book for making PR rules a way of life
Manual for lawyer-accountant
Museum of Professional Ethics
"Good Versus Evil"
"Professional Responsibility is a Science"
"Fighting Off Greed's Temptations"