Poorer students more likely to end up committing professional misconduct

A study in the British Medical Journal has suggested that students from poorer families and students with poor marks are more likely to engage in serious professional misconduct than other students.  It should really suggest that such students are more likely to get caught engaging in serious professional misconduct, but it’s interesting nevertheless.  The sample space was small: the backgrounds of 59 doctors against whom serious charges of misconduct were made out were analysed.

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3 Replies to “Poorer students more likely to end up committing professional misconduct”

  1. Being in professional strive of this kind has nothing to do with poor marks or poor background.

    It’s all about having a good moral compass, terrific common sense and a strong belief in one’s own ability to decide what is right or wrong.

    Once in practice, you’ll know that the life of a solicitor (in particular) is fraught with opportunities for one to trip over on all sort of things legal.

    My suggestion is that to have a healthy suspicion of what one’s client tells one (or in fact what anyone tells you) and know that there are always two sides (if not more) to the story. Believe in what you see for yourself, not what you’re told. Never put your name on anything unless you’re comfortable with it.

    This may reduce your risks of running fowl of the profession’s regulation by 50% and the rest of the time, it’s good luck to you and everyone out there including myself!

  2. My Professional Conduct professor continually stresses that out of our class of 100 or so students, statistically speaking a percentage of us will be in trouble for professional misconduct (or unsatisfactory professional conduct). Now the MBJ is saying that if my marks are poor, I’m even more likely to be unethical (or be caught being unethical)? Thank god I’m female, or I’d really be screwed! Let’s just hope that the results are not transferable to law students! Although with the amount of education in the area (one semester at tertiary level, and then extra study during grad. dip. course work) I would hope that no matter what my marks are, something will sink in and I’ll be a perfectly ethical and professionally responsible lawyer.

    Great blog Stephen – I came across it while researching for my Professional Conduct exam (of course) and really enjoyed the content. Some how it made the concepts a lot more interesting to read about than my dreary old text book!

  3. Although it is a generalisation, I found myself agreeing that students with poor marks are more likely to engage in serious misconduct. However, I strongly disagree with the contention that students from poorer families are also more likely to engage in serious misconduct. My own bias is that: I am from a working class family and I am about to complete my law degree with first class honours. I also take my ethical obligations (as a part time employee of a commercial firm and as a law student) very seriously.

    Stephen – I am really enjoying reading your blog, and have spent the last two hours browsing it. Very glad I came across it today!

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