This week Slaw is presenting works by students in my upper year Professional Responsibility course at the University of Ottawa. The assignment given to the students was open-ended: write a 800-900 word essay on a topic of your choice. I instructed the students to focus on a single issue and try to use the assignment as an opportunity to reflect and elaborate on a specific point raised in our course readings or in class.
I encourage students to bring their own experiences into the classroom and share them with us and in their writings. This year was our first fully “in person” year since before the pandemic and it was incredibly energizing to be back in the classroom. Our Professional Responsibility class of 40 had many discussions and debates about the legal profession and legal ethics. I learned a lot from the students and I hope they learned something from me.
Over the course of 15 years of teaching legal ethics at three law schools in Ontario, I have found that students have great insights into many issues and also produce some exceptional work that regretfully few others besides the instructor have the benefit of reading. I am grateful to Slaw Publisher Steve Matthews for publishing a selection of our students’ work from CML 3376 Professional Responsibility from the Winter 2023 term at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law.