Legal Profession and Professional Responsibility

Course Number
Course Description

This course introduces students to the ethical, legal and regulatory framework within which lawyers operate. By examining Codes of Conduct, Law Society Rules, case law and scholarly research we will consider a wide array of issues facing the modern profession. In short, we will be learning about the practice of law, legal ethics, and the structure of the legal profession.

This course considers the legal profession generally and examines issues relating to professional ethics as they pertain to individuals as well as the profession collectively. Topics range from the practicalities of daily practise to larger ethical issues arising from self-regulation, the rules of practice and codes of conduct. Further, the course considers will consider the effect of Colonialism; combatting anti-Indigenous racism; and trauma informed legal service delivery for Indigenous clients. Several specific areas of contemporary concern will be studied such as: formation of the lawyer/client relationship, competence, conflicts of interest, issues in advocacy and the administration of justice, access to justice and professional discipline. We will also deal with issues of lawyer wellbeing and positive mental health and the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in the legal profession.

Teaching Method

Lecture, class discussion and video.


Pass/Fail based on mandatory attendance and completion of all written and oral assignments. There is also an open book test at the end of the course. A mark of 70% or higher in the test is required to pass the course.

Course Materials

Hutchinson et al, In search of the Ethical Lawyer: Stories from the Canadian Legal Profession (Vancouver: UBC, 2016); Various acts, regulations and codes of professional conduct as assigned.