Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



lawyers, professional ethics


This item was presented at a conference held at Golden Gate University School of Law in March 2010. A published version is included in Vulnerable Populations and Transformative Law Teaching: a Critical Reader published by Carolina Academic Press, and available March 30, 2011. See


Professor Colbert challenges the popular view that regards lawyers as selfish, greedy and uncaring to the legal needs of the outside community. In his article, he recognizes that the lawyers with whom he is familiar are fulfilling the lawyer’s ethical obligation of engaging in pro bono service and “provid[ing] legal services to those unable to pay,” while also embracing the language in the Preamble to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct that refers to the attorney “as a public citizen who has a special responsibility to the quality of justice.” Professor Colbert asks colleagues in the legal academy whether they are reinforcing this ethical duty of public service in their classes and law school environment, and adequately preparing law students to enter the legal profession. Suggesting that most colleagues can do more during students’ three- and four-year law school careers, Professor Colbert concludes that law professors have a big part to play for the profession to complete its century long journey of guaranteeing access to justice for people who remain without access to counsel in civil and criminal proceedings.


Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility