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The Ethical Identity of Law Students

Moorhead, R; Denvir, C; Cahill-O'Callaghan, R; Kouchaki, M; Galoob, S; (2016) The Ethical Identity of Law Students. International Journal of the Legal Profession , 23 (3) pp. 235-275. 10.1080/09695958.2016.1231462. Green open access

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This paper use 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 and at first and third 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 when compared with those at the beginning of their legal education; whether law students intending careers in business law have values and profiles consistent with lesser ethical conduct than students intending to work for government or individuals; and, the factors associated with differences in ethical outlook. We find ethical identity strongly associated with gender and career intentions. Scholarly anxiety about the influence of business on professional identity is supported by the weakening of moral identities seen in students intending to practice business law. In spite of prominent claims that legal education diminishes student ethicality, we find a much more nuanced position.

Type: Article
Title: The Ethical Identity of Law Students
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/09695958.2016.1231462
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09695958.2016.1231462
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1497047
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