The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law January 2014
ADR @ Moritz

Lawrence Lecture Highlights Disturbing Trend in Law Student Ethics

As a professor focused on negotiation and ethics, Art Hinshaw collected years of data on law student ethics and advocacy—the results of which he presented in the 2013 Lawrence Negotiation Lecture on September 19, 2013. Professor Hinshaw, a clinical professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and Director of its Lodestar Dispute Resolution Program, presented data throughout his lecture entitled “Learning and Understanding Negotiation Ethics” that seem to indicate that law students become less ethical as they progress from first to third year of law school.

Professor Hinshaw attributed this decline in ethics to two problems in the law school curriculum: the tension between ethics and advocacy and the absence of education about fraud.  He noted that some students in his negotiation classes engaged in blatant fraud and misrepresentation under the mistaken impression that zealous advocacy required this behavior in order to be effective. He also attributed the disturbing trend to a misunderstanding of fraud generally and the lack of education about it at law schools.  However, he added that practicing lawyers’ ethical results were on par with those of first year law students, suggesting that the phenomenon is a unique development during law school and joking that it “takes 20 years to disabuse law students of these unethical ideas.”

Professor Hinshaw also offered specific suggestions to correct the perceived lack of ethics. Suggestions included teaching fraud in the law school curriculum, connecting negotiations ethics to real world issues, and emphasizing the importance of reputation building to students. Following the lecture, he provided words of wisdom to students about to participate in the impending Lawrence Negotiation Competition.

The lecture was a joint presentation of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Program on Dispute Resolution and the lecture’s namesake, James K.L. Lawrence ’65, a member with Frost Brown Todd in Cincinnati who has practiced labor-relations and employment law for more than four decades.

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The Caucus, the newsletter published by the Moritz Program on Dispute Resolution, is designed to share ADR news with the Moritz community and beyond, as well as provide Moritz students with information regarding externship and employment opportunities. Questions regarding this publication should be directed to Erin Archerd, Langdon Fellow in Dispute Resolution.