Teaching Social Justice in Law Schools: Whose Morality is It?

Julie D. Lawton
Clinical Professor of Law, DePaul University College of Law

A few years ago, when I began interviewing for a position as a law professor, Pepperdine University School of Law invited me to interview for a position on their impressive law faculty. The Vice-Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee asked if I would send for their review, as part of their normal evaluation process, a statement of my research agenda and a brief description of my teaching philosophy. These requests are relatively standard, but the third request struck me—the Chair asked if I would also provide a statement describing how I could contribute to the mission4 of the University and the law school, including a description of my involvement, if any, with a community of faith. I responded that I was uncomfortable with a discussion of my faith, or my involvement in a faith community, as part of my professional interactions, and thus, declined the interview. However, the experience remained with me as I pondered the question that their faculty at the law school had already answered—what role should the personal ethics and morality of a law professor play in teaching? [View Full Article]