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Measuring Professionalism

Submitted by Clark Cunningham on Thu, 05-31-2018
Long title
Objective Methods for Assessing the Effectiveness Of Professional Responsibility Programs
Cunningham, Clark D.
Grimes, Benjamin
Author(s)' contact information
Clark D. Cunningham, Director
National Institute for Teaching Ethics & Professionalism (NIFTEP)
W. Lee Burge Chair in Law and Ethics
Georgia State University College of Law
P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
Phone: (404) 413-9168
Fax: (404) 413-9225
Find me at
Follow me on Twitter @ClarkGSULaw
Benjamin K. Grimes
Deputy Director
Professional Responsibility Advisory Office
Department of Justice
1425 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 12000
Washington, D.C. 20530
(202) 514-0458
Conference title
44th American Bar Association National Conference on Professional Responsibility
Conference location
Louisville, Kentucky
United States
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This presentation is prepared for the 44th American Bar Association National Conference on Professional Responsibility held in Louisville, Kentucky, May 30 – June 1, 2018.

Law schools, bar associations, law firms and disciplinary agencies are all experimenting with new ways to promote professional responsibility.  Are there objective methods for assessing the effectiveness of such initiatives? Over the past 40 years social scientists at The Center for the Study of Ethical Development (“the Center”) have developed a series of multiple choice and essay tests which have been applied in many settings of professional education, including medical schools, dental schools and at West Point, to evaluate the development of four interrelated capacities the Center defines as essential to professional conduct: moral awareness, mature reasoning, ethical commitment, and implementation skills. 

This session will explore the potential applicability of these assessment methods to professional responsibility in the law.  John Berry, Division Director of the Florida Bar, will draw on his expertise on remediation programs for disciplined lawyers to discuss whether a program that used the Center’s tools for a remediation program for disciplined dentists could have applicability to the legal profession.  Lt. Col. Benjamin Grimes, a West Point graduate who is currently Deputy Director of the DOJ’s Professional Responsibility Advisory Office, will explore ways the Center’s work assessing effectiveness of officer training at West Point could be applied to professional development both before and after the JD. Professor Clark Cunningham, Director of the National Institute for Teaching Ethics & Professionalism, will provide an overview of the theories that underlie the Center’s work based on many years of collaboration with Dr. Muriel Bebeau, co-founding director of the Center. The session will be moderated by Jayne Reardon, Executive Director, Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, who chairs the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism.

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