Professional Responsibility: Education and Enforcement


The fallout from the Watergate scandals has had a profound effect upon the legal profession because many of the prominent offenders were attorneys. The severity of the conduct involved and the suspicion that the activities publicized represent merely the tip of the iceberg have caused the American Bar Association, state and local bar committees, and law schools to seek new ways of educating prospective lawyers with respect to their ethical duties, and to seek more effective sanctions against ethically deficient attorneys. It is ironic, however, that increased awareness and activity in the area of legal ethics should be motivated by Watergate, because no course in ethics, no better program of discipline, no keener awareness of moral issues would have succeeded in altering the conduct of the principle offenders where the criminal laws and their personal moral values failed to deter their activities. Nevertheless, the impetus to re-examine approaches to the teaching of professional responsibility and re-evaluate the principles and objectives of the governing rules of legal ethics should not be lost, for the legal profession\u27s record in the education and enforcement of professional responsibility has been unsatisfactory

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