Professionalism embraces a set of attitudes, attributes, skills, behaviours and values which are expected from those to whom society has extended the privilege of practicing law.
A robust debate about the content and contour of professionalism is central to the Faculty of Law’s Professionalism Initiative. What role do lawyers play in Canadian society? What does it mean to be “an ethical lawyer”? What responsibilities do individual lawyers have to the profession and to society at large? What responsibilities does the legal profession have to society? These are some of the questions examined through the rubric of professionalism.
Long ago, Roscoe Pound defined a profession as a group "pursuing a learned art as a common calling in the spirit of public service - no less a public service because it may incidentally be a means of livelihood." The essence of what it means to be a lawyer is this idea of public service and the justification both for self-regulation of the legal profession and for the special privileges that society has granted lawyers is the assertion that both are in the public interest. The purpose of the Professionalism Initiative is to explore, support and challenge the public interest role of lawyers.
The framework for Common Law’s Professionalism Initiative is a vision of the law where achieving social justice is a foremost concern for faculty and students. Through the Professionalism Initiative the faculty strives to inspire and support the legal community’s efforts to contribute to a civil society.
The Professionalism Initiative brings together all of the faculty and student work at the law school related to professionalism.