Character and Fitness and the Law School Graduate: A Utopian Vision?

James P. White, Character and Fitness and the Law School Graduate: A Utopian Vision?, 26 Gonz. L. Rev. 381 (1990)

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“The word ‘Utopia’ is a coinage from Greek and can mean either ‘nowhere’ or ‘good place.”

In UtopiaThomas More observes, “What you cannot turn to good you must make as little bad as you can. For it is impossible that all should be well unless all men were good, a situation which I do not expect for a great many years to come!”

In viewing the character and fitness of law school graduates in the context of Thomas More’s writings, the obligation and responsibility of the graduate to be of the highest character cannot be presumed. I believe that the thesis of More’s vision of Utopia as applied to the law school graduate’s ability to practice law in a responsible and ethical manner is that we cannot assume that a would-be graduate is embodied with the best and highest principles. Those participating in the law school educational experience, such as teachers, practicing lawyers, judges, and fellow students, must strive to examine all aspects of their character. They must also seek to instill the highest sense of responsibility and virtue in the student who is to become the future lawyer… Read More

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