In recent years, legal practitioners and scholars alike have identified a growing crisis in the legal profession. Increasingly, lawyers feel dissatisfied with the roles they are expected to play and the conduct demanded of them. In particular, many lawyers see a widening gap between their personal values and those employed in legal practice. In response to the dichotomy between personal and professional values, some lawyers attempt to develop a corresponding dichotomy in their personalities, separating the “professional self” from the “personal self.” Such a response, however, may lead to a kind of “ethical schizophrenia,” a condition in which an individual is placed in the position of trying to adhere to competing and inconsistent ethical systems. There exist numerous and varied sources of ethical values available to lawyers, such as the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Yet the Model Rules, like other codes, have been found to be sorely lacking in offering meaningful guidance to lawyers facing difficult ethical questions. As a result of the inadequacy of the rules, lawyers searching for ethical guidance have looked to other sources of values. Religious values, in particular, have gained increasing prominence in the arena of legal ethics, as they present a comprehensive system of ethics for lawyers seeking to integrate their personal and professional lives. The success of religious values in responding to the ethical needs and problems of lawyers has resulted in what has been called a “religious lawyering movement.” The contributors to this symposium thus provide a number of approaches and viewpoints, based in various value systems, in an effort to combat the current ethical crisis felt by so many lawyers. Through different methods, but sharing a common emphasis on personal values, they offer a variety of responses to the problems of ethical schizophrenia that continue to plague the legal profession.
38 Cath. Law. 145 (1998)
38 Cath. Law. 145