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Legal Ethics in Action: Dispatches from the Front Lines

Legal Ethics in Action: Dispatches from the Front Lines (Program)

Mary Gentile, Babson College (US); Steven Chanenson, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law (US) (Moderator); and Anneka Ferguson, Australian National University (Australia)

Legal Ethics in Action: Dispatches from the Front Lines 

Giving Voice to Values (“GVV”) is a pedagogy that revolves around “ethical implementation and asks the question: What would I say and do if I were going to act on my values?.”  It focuses on post-decision action.  Used worldwide in business schools and corporations, GVV has much to offer the legal academy.  Although law students may know what is right and what the Rules demand, many struggle with how to act on that knowledge. 

This panel will explore strategies for incorporating GVV into legal education, including through stand-alone programs and integration into traditional doctrinal courses.  Legal ethics in law school is often relegated to one specialized, rule-bound course.  While necessary, this approach is not sufficient to prepare students to handle the challenges they will face as practicing attorneys.  GVV encourages students to move beyond the admittedly important debates over the Rules and focus on developing the “moral muscle memory” that will help them act on their values.  

The panel features professors who have used GVV in both business and legal education at the most advanced – as well as the most basic – levels.  Mary Gentile, who developed GVV and fosters its growth across the curriculum, will provide a foundation in the model.  Anneka Ferguson will share Australian empirical research and GVV implementation in a professionalism program.  Justine Rogers will offer another perspective from Australia focused on situating GVV in a course entitled Lawyers, Ethics & Justice.  Steve Chanenson will report on nascent efforts to introduce GVV in American law schools.