In 2009, I published Teaching Professionalism in this Law Review to describe the content and methods of Mercer's first-year course on professionalism. Since then, we have made significant changes to the course, and it seems fitting to share some of those developments in the context of a Symposium that honors the scholarship and teaching of Jack Sammons. As I noted in the earlier article, the idea for the course came from Jack before I ever came to Mercer. It is also appropriate to use this occasion for another reason. I can trace the early design of the course, and most of the more recent improvements, to lessons that I learned from Jack, and this Article gives me the opportunity to acknowledge those lessons and thank him for them.
After eleven years of teaching the professionalism course, it is now clear that we are trying essentially to accomplish three things. First, we are sensitizing students to issues of professionalism so that when they enter the practice they will know one when they see it "in the wild." One cannot deal with an issue to which one is blind. Second, we are motivating the students to make decisions that are consistent with the values of the profession. Lawyers need reasons to do the right thing, especially when doing the wrong thing might be easier or more lucrative. Third, we are beginning the process of training the students to make and implement wise decisions when professional values are at stake. Eventually, every lawyer must be able to answer the hard questions- what should I do and how should I do it?-and we are helping our students start to learn how to do that.
Patrick Emery Longan, Further Reflections on Teaching Professionalism: A Thank You Note to Jack Sammons, 66 Mercer L. Rev. 513 (2015).