Teaching ethics clinically without breaking the bank

Donald Nicolson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter argues that law schools should seek to inculcate in students an awareness of and a concern for high ethical standards and altruistic service to the community. Drawing on ethical theory and moral psychology, it then argues that the most effective way to teach ethics and inculcate student altruism is in the context of student engagement with actual clients in university law clinics, rather than through simulations or other forms of experiential, let alone non-experential, learning. The value of combining ethics teaching with clinical experience is illustrated by reference to diary entries of law clinics students taking a class in legal ethics. Finally, by drawing on the author’s own clinical experiences, it is shown that law clinics need not be expensive to run as long as students assist in their running and do not prioritise their educational needs over serving clients and the community.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExperimental Legal Education in a Globalized World
Subtitle of host publicationThe Middle East and Beyond
EditorsMutaz M. Qafisheh , Stephen A. Rosenbaum
Place of PublicationNewcastle upon Tyne
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • law clinics
  • law students
  • developing legal skills
  • legal services


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