Video Review: Law-givers, Story-tellers, and Dubin’s Legal Heroes: The Emerging Dichotomy in Legal Ethics

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Video Review: Law-givers, Story-tellers, and Dubin’s Legal Heroes: The Emerging Dichotomy in Legal Ethics
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Video Review: Law-givers, Story-tellers, and Dubin’s Legal Heroes: The Emerging Dichotomy in Legal Ethics

Vincent Robert Johnson

3 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 341 (1989).

    Two camps have begun to emerge from the rich ferment in legal ethics teaching and scholarship over the last twenty years.  The first group, whose members might be termed “law-givers,” consists of those who view legal ethics as chiefly concerned with the identification, transmission, and enforcement of uniform standards governing the conduct of lawyers.  The second group—considerably smaller, but increasingly well-defined—might be called the “story-tellers.”  The story-tellers place a higher value on persons and context than on principles and procedures, and on the cultivation of a deeper, less mechanical sense of professionalism than detailed rules can provide.

    Larry Dubin’s most recent educational videotape, Legal Heroes, brings him more firmly into the ranks of the legal ethics master story-tellers.  Reasonably short and fast-moving, the videotape is exceptionally well-planned, and it refreshes the spirit and nourishes the soul in the best tradition of story-telling.  The film focuses on three lawyers who elected to chart altruistic courses, and in the process secured not only important results but the admiration of their peers.  Often, attempting to reinforce positive professional images is not an easy sell; idealism is passe.  Nevertheless, Professor Dubin produces an effective and useful product.  Legal Heroes is a very positive film, designed to make lawyers and, more importantly, law students feel comfortable, even proud, of their choice of career, and reminds them that there can be much more to law practice than the law alone.

Keywords: legal ethics, legal education, legal scholarship, professional conduct, Legal Heroes, Larry Dubin, Amelia Lewis, Vincent McCarthy, Fred Gray, legal activism, juvenile justice, juvenile advocacy, altruism, pro bono, racial discrimination, civil rights, Gerald Gault, Rosa Parks, social change, social action.

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