Professional Ethics

Virginia's curriculum includes a variety of courses designed to instill the principles of ethical legal practice.

Unlike some other areas of legal study, professional responsibility and ethics training provides skills that practicing lawyers use every day.

Professional Ethics Courses

All Virginia Law students must complete a professional responsibility requirement before graduation.  

In Professional Responsibility, students are presented with an overview of the law and ethics of lawyering. Although the course covers the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct as they relate to these topics, a major theme of the course is the relationship, and often the tension, between the duties imposed by ethics rules and the lawyer’s obligations under “other law,” including criminal law, tort law, constitutional law, procedural law, regulatory law and agency law.

Students in the Ethics and Integrity for Law Firm Lawyers and Their Clients short course discuss real situations in which ethical issues arise for attorneys and their clients. The course provides students with the tools to make sound ethical decisions and explores practical alternatives to "going along" with conduct they sense is not right.

The Law School also offers Professional Responsibility in Public Interest Law Practice, a specialized course focused on professional responsibility issues that arise in the context of public interest law.

Seminar in Ethical Values

The Law School also offers Seminars in Ethical Values, in which students get a chance to enhance their understanding of ethical issues and address the broader ethical and moral responsibility of the lawyer as citizen and leader. (Note: the seminars in ethical values do not satisfy the professional ethics requirement for graduation.)