Legal Profession & Professional Ethics
Georgetown Law has a long tradition of the study and teaching of legal ethics.
Faculty scholarship covers topics such as the special challenges, obligations and commitments of criminal defense attorneys, the ethical practices of tax lawyers in relation to tax avoidance schemes, systematic changes in the legal profession and the organization of law firms, and the use, development and impact of new technologies on the provision of legal services.
In addition to the general Professional Responsibility course, Georgetown Law offers courses in topics such as professional responsibility for tax lawyers, building a law firm, and ethics in public interest practice. Clinics, practicums, and externship companion courses integrate the study of professional responsibilities into experiential learning. Students graduate Georgetown Law with an understanding not only of the law, but also of changes, challenges, and new opportunities in the legal profession.
The Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law conducts rigorous empirical research on trends in law practice and the legal profession. The Center’s projects address topics such as criminal prosecution, government practice, and public interest law, as well as private practice. Through courses, workshops, and symposia, the Center educates students about topics such as the changing law firm business model and technology in legal practice.
Its research initiatives include a study cosponsored by the American Bar Foundation on the factors that shape culture and drive behavior in large law firms. The Center serves practicing lawyers by using its research to inform wide-ranging discussions at events and executive education programs of what it means to be a lawyer in the modern world.
Each semester, Georgetown’s Iron Tech Lawyer Competition features student work in harnessing technology to deliver more effective legal services. Students who build apps in the Technology, Innovation and Law Practice class then present them before a panel of judges. Past winners of the Iron Tech Lawyer include an app that provides guidance on how to prepare for an unemployment benefits hearing and an app to help Department of Veterans Affairs adjudicators determine whether a service member is eligible for VA benefits.
In its four annual issues and featured symposia, The Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics publishes articles on ethical issues and facilitates dialogue among leading legal scholars, attorneys, judges, and social scientists. The Journal is a forum for the discussion and development of the most compelling and pertinent issues currently affecting both bench and bar and invites interdisciplinary scholarship and writing related to the future of the legal profession. In the tradition of its founder, Father Robert Drinan, the Journal maintains a steadfast commitment to community service, which is a requirement for all staff and editors.