CourseProfessionalism in the Practice of Law - Law 696u
Instructor Thomas A. Zlaket   View Faculty Page
Units 2 -
Prerequisites: None 
Recommended Courses: None 

Lawyers are professionals.  This is a course about professionalism in the practice of law, and how attorneys can develop and maintain it in the face of pressures confronting today's practitioners.  It is not a course in the rules of professional responsibility, although there is considerable overlap involving ethics and professionalism.  This overlap will be explored, along with core values essential to the legal profession.  This course will serve as a way to prepare students for the transition from law school to law practice, and will attempt to address some of the situations that may face new lawyers.  The course will address professionalism issues that arise in the context of the lawyer's relationships with clients, judges, opposing counsel, co-counsel, the public, court staff, and support staff.  Some of the issues to be covered follow:


Professionalism vs. Ethics

The overlap

The distinctions

Civility and courtesy vs. strategy and tactics

The tensions

The meaning and role of advocacy

The purging of "zealous advocacy"

Core values of the profession






Lying by lawyers

Its causes

Its consequences


Traditional roles of the lawyer




Public Perception

Its origins


Professionalism vs. money

Mutually exclusive?

                        Pro bono service

Transactional lawyers vs. litigators

Different standards?

Different behaviors?

Costs of unprofessionalism

To the profession

To the justice system

To the public

To the client

To civilized society

To the individual lawyer



Text and materials compiled by professor, including law review and journal articles on professionalism.

Course Format Lecture and discussion. This course will require attendance at each class and active student participation. The class will involve extensive use of hypotheticals raising the subjects mentioned in the course overview. 
Written Assignments TBA 
Type of Exam TBA 
Basis for grading Class participation and paper. 
Additional Comments  
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