Contests, Law School Deans, Law Schools, Legal Ethics, March Madness, Reader Polls

ATL March Madness (2012): The Most Honest Law School

Get your brackets ready, March Madness is here! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, at least for those who enjoy illegally gambling with co-workers.

Every year, we here at Above the Law like to put together a little bracket of our own. In the past, we’ve asked you to vote for such things as the coolest law firm or the douchiest law school.

This year, we’ve come up with a question that you don’t hear a lot of people asking when they’re talking about pursing a career in law: Which law school is the most honest?

Don’t start checking you LST transparency index just yet. Sure, being honest to prospective or incoming students can be a factor in a law school’s reputation for honesty. But we want to look at this question in the broadest possible sense….

Whether a law school provides full and fair disclosure of its employment statistics to prospective students would certainly seem relevant to whether the school is “honest.” Whether a law school’s administration is direct and upfront when handling the crises and controversies that inevitably arise (and that we love to cover) would also seem like part of the honesty equation.

But honesty goes beyond the central administration and the career services office. It should show itself in the classroom as well — and beyond.

We expect law schools to shape our next generation of lawyers. We expect law schools to teach their students to think like lawyers. But do we expect law schools to teach people to be honest lawyers? Are some law schools better at emphasizing the moral and ethical standards of the law, while others teach a more, well, ethically aggressive style?

Or maybe the process of being an “honest” law school starts earlier than the first day of classes? It’s possible that some schools try to screen for the most upstanding individuals they can find, while other admission committees are more willing to accept academically qualified applicants with murky pasts.

Practicing lawyers, you must have opinions as well. If you are out there in practice, you’ve run across countless attorneys and judges from all sorts of law schools. Have you noticed any patterns when it comes to the alma maters of the honest and dishonest lawyers you meet?

In the words of Jack Nicholson’s Joker, “Hubba, hubba, hubba, money, money, money, who do you trust?” Which law schools have a reputation for producing graduates who are honest in their professional and personal dealings? Which law schools teach people that rules are made to be broken? Which law schools understand that honesty starts at the top?

We’ve tossed out several ways of measuring honesty. Ultimately, though, the definition of “honesty” is up to you.

Click on the next page to see the bracket and begin voting.

(hidden for your protection)

comments sponsored by

Show all comments