Do Values and Professionalism Change During Law School? CEL Awarded LEF Grant

28 March 2014

The Legal Education Foundation

The Centre for Ethics and Law has been awarded research funding by the Legal Education Foundation to explore whether and how values and professionalism change as students progress through law school.

Richard Moorhead, Centre Director and Professor of Law and Professional Ethics leads the project in collaboration with researchers from Harvard University (Maryam Kouchaki), the University of Tulsa (Stephen Galoob) and Cardiff University (Rachel Cahill-O’Callaghan). The study will explore: the values of law students; concepts of professionalism and professional commitment; and the relationship between personal values, professionalism and ethical decision-making. This multidisciplinary project builds on research emerging in the field, through the use of a cross-sectional study which will engage students from Law Schools in England and Wales and the United States, at different stages in their undergraduate and postgraduate legal education.

Of particular interest to the research team is whether and how legal education shifts an individual’s personal values; whether professional identity has a relationship to professional behaviour; and whether legal training encourages ethical ‘partiality’ when it comes to legal decisions as compared to non-legal decisions. The research is of contemporary importance in light of the Legal Education and Training Review. Findings from the research are expected to be published in April 2015.

CEO of the Legal Education Foundation, Matthew Smerdon, said:

"The Legal Education Foundation is very pleased to be supporting this piece of important research.  Understanding the thinking of law students on the application of ethics as they work their way through law school is essential to the teaching in this area. Professional values and ethical decision making are often a key differentiator between someone who is a professional practitioner and someone who is not.  We look forward to the results of this research and how it might guide those responsible for planning law courses"

For more information on this project please contact Professor Richard Moorhead


Page last modified on 28 mar 14 14:26


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