The Law Society has been developing interactive ethical scenarios for the profession.
The scenarios can be accessed via the Law Society website. The aim of the project is to provide ethical training in an enjoyable and engaging way. The Law Society hope in time to build a sizeable resource that will be of lasting value to the profession.
The Law Society believes that the commitment to behaving ethically is at the heart of what it means to be a solicitor. The Law Society supports solicitors in recognising and handling difficult professional situations and making choices which can be substantiated by reference to the SRA Code of Conduct.
Professional ethics is not just about making a commitment to acting with integrity and honesty in accordance with widely recognised moral principles. Ethics can be a guide towards appropriate behaviour in relation to moral dilemmas that arise in practice.
Good ethical practice will always support the principles of serving the interests of consumers of legal services and of acting in the interests of the administration of justice. Providing support and training to the profession on ethics is a key deliverable for the Law Society.
The ethical scenarios feature Ethel, the Law Society’s ethical guru, who guides users though the issues associated with various dilemmas which solicitors might actually face in practice.
The scenarios include a number of features designed to stimulate the audience’s interest in the evolving narrative.
For example, we see conversations between the main protagonists and are able to read emails or other important documents which complicate the situation as they occur in the story.
At all stages of the process, users are asked to say what they would do and are then given feedback on their choices by Ethel, so there are plenty of opportunities for reflection and learning.
The goal is to raise awareness of professional and ethical issues, and to stimulate critical thinking and debate, rather than to attempt to prescribe definitive answers.
Examples of interactive ethical scenarios include:
- Conflicts of interest: a solicitor finds herself in a position of potential conflict. Can she represent two clients in the same matter?
- Confidentiality: a solicitor must consider his duties of confidentiality and disclosure in a complicated set of circumstances.
- Speaking up as a junior lawyer: a junior solicitor finds herself in a difficult situation when she discovers potential misconduct by her training principal and supervisor. What exactly should she do next, bearing in mind that he is responsible for signing off her training contract?
- Client pressure: a solicitor is put under pressure by a large commercial client to change the firm’s usual terms of engagement. The situation becomes more complicated when the solicitor represents the client in a Competition and Markets Authority investigation for price fixing.
Please note: if you’re not a member of our free Professional Development Centre, you will need to register. It only takes two minutes to register and you will be taken straight to the scenario once registered.
The project complements other work on ethics being undertaken by the Law Society, including the launch of its new Ethics page. The Society would be delighted to hear your views on the scenarios as you complete them (you will find a short survey alongside each scenario). Equally, they would welcome any suggestions for the subject matter of future scenarios.