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Publication Date

Summer 1995




Duke University School of Law




After all our efforts and all Keck's money, where are we? Some good has been accomplished. By committing its resources to the study of legal ethics, the W.M. Keck Foundation has encouraged law schools to pay attention to a subject all too often ignored. That itself is good. The money has made things happen. Schools have held conferences devoted to legal ethics that otherwise would not have been held;1 schools have experimented with teaching programs in legal ethics that otherwise might have been left untried;' members of the practicing bar have had conversations and debates with academics about the responsibilities of lawyers that otherwise might not have occurred; and a few scholars have written papers examining the responsibilities of lawyers that otherwise might not have been written.3 All that is good.

But the picture is not all rosy. Legal ethics remains the step-child of legal education. Serious scholarship in legal ethics is still considered somewhat of an oxymoron.4 Most faculties remain unconvinced that the subject can be taught or even that there is a subject here worth teaching.' And at most schools the "pervasive method," in which legal ethics is integrated into the standard coursework, is still little more than tokenism designed to satisfy the American Bar Association ("ABA") accreditation requirement.6 To some extent, the symposium at which this essay was presented masks those problems. There we assembled a rare group: scholars that have managed to be taken seriously while taking legal ethics seriously.

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