Lawyers and Professionalism: A Further Psychiatric Perspective on Legal Education

In recent years, clinical teaching methods have played an increasingly significant role in the education of this nation’s lawyers. With the consequential accumulation of data pertaining to various institutional experiences, it is now worthwhile to explore, from a clinician’s perspective, some of the psychodynamics of this educational process as it appears to affect a student’s future professional behavior. In addition to such an examination, this article will delineate methods for dealing with the stresses of a lawyer’s professional life, suggesting ways in which the attorney may satisfy his goals as well as those of his client. It is hoped that these suggestions will be useful to those who seek explicit material for development of an academically acceptable approach to clinical legal education. Nothing in a lawyer’s life has more intellectual content or complexity than the substance of his professional relationships. As those transactions are subjected to adequate social and psychological analysis, it will become increasingly apparent why many argue that law schools must bring direct clinical experience into their curriculums or run the substantial risk of graduating students who would, along with their clients, continue to encounter the numerous psychological risks of professional practice. This paper will attempt to present, in a conceptualized framework, a view of the process-dynamics involved in professional behavior and will suggest methods to be used in teaching students how to live that kind of behavior in a manner commensurate with their roles as lawyers. In order to provide a concrete application of many of these concepts, several clinical cases described by Professor Marvin Kayne will be used as illustrations of the conduct in question.