Justice Tom C. Clark’s Legacy in the Field of Legal Ethics

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Justice Tom C. Clark’s Legacy in the Field of Legal Ethics
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Justice Tom C. Clark’s Legacy in the Field of Legal Ethics

Vincent Johnson

29 J. Legal Prof. 33 (2005).

    Justice Tom C. Clark served as this nation’s Attorney General and as a Supreme Court Justice during a pivotal time in this nation’s history; however, his greatest legacy is the tremendous impact he and the Clark Report, whose development he oversaw, has in the area of lawyer discipline and ethics. Prior to the Clark Report, there existed a “scandalous situation” with respect to lawyer discipline; however, in the subsequent decades, revolutionary change has occurred. That change is largely attributable to Justice Clark, whether directly or indirectly, as was found in 1992 by the American Bar Association in its McKay Report.

    The Clark Report signaled a new age in lawyer discipline, modernizing legal discipline, attending attention to legal professionalism in legal education, contributing to the development of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (“MPRE”), Continued Legal on Ethics, and a host of other reforms. The deplorable state of affairs that existed when the Clark Report was published no longer exists. The field of lawyer discipline has been tremendously improved, which is all a consequence of the diligent, thoughtful work of Justice Tom C. Clark who contributed his name, reputation, and fervor to the cause of improving legal ethics in America.   

Keywords: Justice Tom C. Clark, Clark Report, The Report, American Bar Association (“ABA”), ethics, discipline, professional responsibility, Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (“MPRE”), McKay Report, Boulder II.

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