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Career Insights Podcast

A Conversation About Character and Fitness – Part 2 of 2



ABA Career Center's Career Insights podcast is designed to explore cutting-edge issues, trends and practices impacting the legal profession and lawyers entering and growing in the profession.  Each podcast is led by an experienced interviewer who will introduce a subject that is current and will involve leading experts, academicians, and practitioners reacting to the interviewer’s questions.

It’s no secret that these days more and more attorneys are finding themselves in the news with some attorney high profile cases alleging criminal and unethical conduct. Attorney misconduct has recently seen a resurgence in mainstream conversation in light of the #MeToo movement, the raid on President Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen, a 60 Minutes episode “Against the Odds,” and numerous New York Times articles. As cultural and societal norms shift, it’s caused the profession to look back at the origin and application of the character and fitness prerequisite to practice law. What does it mean? How should it be regulated?

In the second part of this program, our experts continue the conversation on how attorney character and fitness can be regulated, how the spotlight on lawyer misconduct has increased in the media (e.g., a 60 Minutes story called “Against all odds” and several NYT articles in recent years, and how we see character and fitness evolving in the future given shifts in cultural and social norms.


Derek Davis, Executive Director, The Center on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School


David B. Wilkins, Lester Kissel Professor of Law, Director, Center on the Legal Profession, Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School