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How Bad is it Out There?: Teaching and Learning About the State of the Legal Profession in North Carolina

Submitted by Joe Hoffman on Tue, 11-10-2009
Conley, John M.
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North Carolina Law Review
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United States
This Article reports on an interview-based approach to teaching professional responsibility which, Conley argues has offered both significant pedagogical advantages and an unexpected opportunity to study the state of the legal profession. Part I analyzes the longstanding problems associated with teaching professional responsibility and describes the new course, called "The Law Firm." Part II reviews the empirical literature on the state of the profession, which includes surveys, ethnographies, and numerous first-person accounts. In Part III, Conley describes the development of The Law Firm as an opportunity to study the profession, and discusses the major theres that have emerged over nine years as he and his students have interviewed lawyers from almost every branch of law practice. The principal issues have included the effects of changing economics, the structure and governance of law firms, diversity in the profession, and the balance--or lack therof--between work and lawyers' personal lives. In the conclusion, Conley reflects on The Law Firm as a teaching model for broader applicability.
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