Curriculum Guide · Courses
Ethics and Professional Identity Seminar: The Practicing Lawyer and the Poor
J.D. Seminar 164 | 1 credit hours
This course will examine the moral obligations of the lawyer confronting the stark reality of poverty in the United States and abroad. Our starting point will be Roman Catholic teaching on the "preferential option for the poor," but similar beliefs and principles of other faith traditions and philosophies will be explored as well. Participation by those of any faith or no faith--including the suggestion of relevant readings--is welcomed. We will study the lives of several individuals who have devoted themselves to the service of the poor, and the philosophical, spiritual, and professional values underlying their dedication. But we will also look at the situation of lawyers whose everyday professional work serves affluent individuals and institutions. One goal of the seminar is to help students assess the practice of law "from the bottom up," reflecting on how our work--no matter how or where we practice--impacts poor people. We will discuss ways in which the lawyer may be called to assist and stand with the poor, including but also going beyond pro bono services. We will read the equivalent of about two books. Each student will be expected to write several short reflection papers aggregating about 12 pages.
Attendance at all class meetings is mandatory. THIS COURSE IS OFFERED FOR ONE CREDIT. This course is mandatory pass/fail and will count toward the 7 credit pass/fail limit. Students are required to attend all four class meetings and to write several short reflection papers during the course. NOTE: This course will meet in the Fall 2012 semester from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on September 12 at the Law Center, on October 3 at Professor Abell’s home (directions will be provided), and on October 24 and November 14 at the Law Center. NOTE: This course does not fulfill the Professional Responsibility requirement.