Bar exams, legal ethics and the fight against corruption: lessons from Brazil

Article


Economides, Kim and de Rezende Alvim, Joaquim Leonel. 2020. "Bar exams, legal ethics and the fight against corruption: lessons from Brazil." Legal Ethics. 23 (1-2), pp. 31-47. https://doi.org/10.1080/1460728x.2020.1822098
Article Title

Bar exams, legal ethics and the fight against corruption: lessons from Brazil

ERA Journal ID33573
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsEconomides, Kim (Author) and de Rezende Alvim, Joaquim Leonel (Author)
Journal TitleLegal Ethics
Journal Citation23 (1-2), pp. 31-47
Number of Pages17
Year2020
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1460-728X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/1460728x.2020.1822098
Web Address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1460728x.2020.1822098
Abstract

In this article we explain the specific contribution of Bar exams to the professional socialisation of Brazilian lawyer leaders through examining their changing content, particularly the coverage of and balance between commercial and public interests. Understanding what drives curriculum change, as reflected in vocational assessment, could inform the future skills and ethical components of preparatory training of lawyers that in turn might hold implications for the fight against corruption. While we aim to demystify some of the myths surrounding Brazilian lawyers’ ethical conduct, that often are reinforced by misleading and unrealistic media representations of legal heroism, we claim the ethical content of vocational Bar exams can still offer valuable insights into the formation of professional character, including the ability of lawyers to fully comprehend and connect with underlying fundamental values and interests that support both professional and state power. At the same time, we must recognise ethical training has its limits and can only ever go so far in helping to eradicate corruption. Our broad claim is that lessons emerging from recent Brazilian experience could, with some caveats, potentially guide and inform future developments in legal education and training elsewhere.

KeywordsBar association examinations, Brazil, corruption, vocational training, professionalisation, legal ethics, legal profession, law schools
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020489999. Other law and legal studies not elsewhere classified
480505. Legal practice, lawyering and the legal profession
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Law and Justice
Fluminense Federal University, Brazil
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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