Preparing Australia's Future Lawyers: An Exposition of Changing Values Over Time In The Context Of Teaching About Ethical Dilemmas

Adrian Evans, Josephine Palermo


This study investigated what values may be influential to decision making in relation to ethical behaviour for early career lawyers. It adopted a longitudinal approach to investigate how values develop or degrade over time as final year law students move into their first two years of employment or further study. To this end, the study investigated the role that tertiary education and employers fulfill in building and perpetuating ‘appropriate’ professional values? Results demonstrate that, in general, ethical behaviour was not uniformly reinforced over time in the workplace. The undertaking of pro bono work stands out here. Results suggested that certain behaviour relevant values may develop or degrade over the early years of the
Australian lawyer’s career. The implications of results are discussed in the contexts of ethics education in a tertiary context and the continuing education and regulation of the legal profession.

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