What does it mean today to "think like a lawyer"? Drawing on extensive interviews with men and women attorneys, the authors explore how moral reasoning affects lawyers' understanding of justice and their own role in promoting it. This examination of personal and institutional imperatives in the legal profession, illustrated with quotations from the lawyers themselves, raises questions that transcend traditional discussions of legal ethics. The authors examine: the relationship between gender and patterns of moral thinking; the ways that personal morality affects public and professional responsibility; the legal system's response to social changes in public ethics and in women's roles. For example, has the recent influx of women to the legal profession brought moral views that challenge the traditional defining characteristics of a lawyer's job? What happens when a lawyer's personal morality conflicts with the role demands of the profession? In conclusion the authors offer suggestions for constructive changes in legal education and the code of professional ethics to foster morally responsive democracy. All those concerned with moral reasoning, gender roles, and the evolution of the legal system will find this stimulating and timely reading.
"Moral Vision and Professional Decisions examines in fascinating detail how young men and women confront or ignore moral choices in their practice...Every first-year law student should be fascinated with this book; every practicing lawyer should read it to be reminded that following the letter of the law is only part of true morality" William D. Iverson, partner at Covington & Burling, Washington D.C. "...links together an important debate within the field of moral development research as an emerging issue in the legal profession. The authors have managed to broaden gender differences in approaches to the legal profession without the strident finger wagging that has so often marred the analysis of gender issues. [They] have provided rich, intriguing, and accessible information that helps us see how lawyers' sense of compassion and caring clashes with the current role definitions of that profession." Larry Nucci, University of Illinois at Chicago "A brilliantly conceived and executed study of morality orientations in the legal profession." Choice "It cannot be read without causing readers to think and perhaps reevaluate personal morality. Moral Vision and Professional Decisions serves the profession well." Larry S. Stewart, Trial "But at a time when many lawyers gain less and less satisfaction from their practice, the Jacks are right to argue that lawyers may be better lawyers and better people if they adopt a broader conception of morality." Kenneth Jost, ABA Journal