Lights, camera, legal ethics

Legal ethics have gone under the lights – camera lights. The Canadian Association of Legal Ethics has created a series of seven videos that will make it easier for law school faculty, bar admissions and continuing professional development programs to explore contemporary legal ethics issues.

Seven issues are examined in videos that last anywhere from three to 20 minutes. They depict a variety of scenarios and ethical dilemmas commonly encountered by lawyers, highlighting the lawyer’s duties of confidentiality, competence, and civility, and the duty to avoid conflicts of interest. One scenario, for example, starts with two lawyers at a social gathering when a client issue comes up.

Three of the videos discuss the lawyer’s role in enhancing access to justice. One of these includes a debate on mandatory pro bono. An academic argues in favour, a practising lawyer against.

“We didn’t want to reinforce stereotypes,” says Richard Devlin, a professor at the Schulich School of Law in Halifax and one of the four people who created and developed the video series.

The other people involved in the project are Brent Cotter, a law professor at the University of Saskatchewan; Schulich law professor Jocelyn Downie; and Colin Jackson, a PhD law student at Dalhousie.

The series builds on videos developed earlier by Cotter. It was time to update the wardrobes and the context in which legal ethics are debated and encountered today.

“This is a whole new generation,” says Devlin.

The new series, which took 18 months to complete, also comes with teaching guides, which academics and others will find useful to prompt and direct discussion. Ethics is difficult to teach. Indeed, that was one of the key reasons CALE was found eight years ago.

“The students have to know some law and also some of bigger picture of the law profession,” says Devlin.

The videos, funded with support from the Chief Justice of Ontario’s Advisory Committee on Professionalism, Dalhousie’s Centre for Teaching and Learning, and the Schulich School of Law, are hosted on the “Teaching Resources” portal of the Canadian Association of Legal Ethics website. They are available for use by legal educators, law societies. and other non-profit groups free of charge. You will need a password though, and you can get that from

Now all you need is some popcorn.

Free newsletter

The Canadian Legal Newswire is a FREE weekly newsletter that keeps you up to date on news and analysis about the Canadian legal scene. A separate InHouse Edition is delivered every two weeks, providing targeted news and information of interest to in-house counsel.

Please complete the form below to receive the weekly Canadian Legal Newswire and/or the Canadian Inhouse Legal Newswire.

Recent articles & video

Daphne Dumont to receive CBA’s Cecilia I. Johnstone award

Quebec taking harsh line on cannabis edibles

Will the conversation catalyzed by the Law Society of Ontario mean the end of articling?

Copyright law: set for an overhaul?

Corporate Counsel Survey 2019 closes on Monday, Aug 26

When Legal Aid is a political prop, Access to justice suffers

Most Read Articles

The Ontario government is destroying university legal clinics

Will the conversation catalyzed by the Law Society of Ontario mean the end of articling?

Quebec taking harsh line on cannabis edibles

When Legal Aid is a political prop, Access to justice suffers