Ethical Fitness® and the Practicing Attorney
Reliable enough that its core principles have survived over twenty years
but flexible enough to reach diverse audiences, the Ethical Fitness Seminar
is built around group participation, shared ethical values, and the process
of breaking down complicated ethical dilemmas into discrete and workable
steps. After participants, whether five or fifty, work together in small
groups to develop a shared language of ethical values, they together apply
that language to a series of real-life dilemmas that they share with their
groups. The trainer then lays out common types of ethical dilemmas, before
finally teaching the group how to resolve them using streamlined versions
of some of the oldest, most influential concepts in ethical philosophy.
- To demonstrate that sound ethics is essential for survival in the 21st century.
- To provide practical experience in negotiating shared values.
- To provide the language and encouragement for the discussion of ethical issues.
- To provide practical tools for resolving difficult dilemmas.
The Ethical Fitness Seminar is designed to assist in laying the conceptual
groundwork for understanding and resolving the tough right-versus-right
issues that face each of us every day. It provides participants with a
language of ethics and opens their eyes to the rich ethical fabric of
the world around them.
Our four-session seminar comprises discussions of Moral Awareness, Values
Definition, Ethical Analysis, and Dilemma Resolution, using a mixture
of presentation, group discussion, and small-group exercises.
SESSION 1: Moral Awareness
This first step consists of describing the current ethical climate, noting
the signs of hope but also stressing the warning signals of a collapse
of shared values, closely tied to current events and with reference to
statistical studies, opinion polls, and relevant examples.
SESSION 2: Values Definition
Not to be confused with "values clarification," this step consists
of group exercises that:
- Identify the shared values of the group, and
- Set these values against 12 years of Institute research into core values
around the world.
The research suggests that there exists a core of shared values that is
global, deeply held, and unaffected by gender, race, religion, age, culture,
political persuasion, or economic status.
The result is a working
"code of ethics" upon which the following sessions can be built.
SESSION 3: Ethical Analysis
This session begins with the concept of "dilemma paradigms,"
based on the understanding that "right versus right" dilemmas,
however complex and varied, typically reduce themselves to one or more
of the four dilemma paradigms:
Truth versus loyalty; Self versus community; Short-term versus long-term;
and Justice versus mercy.
The session continues by examining ethical issues drawn not from written
case studies but from fresh, individual experiences shared by the participants
in the seminar. In this step, participants are encouraged to:
- Share with a small group the story of a dilemma they themselves have experienced;
- Identify the ethical elements in the dilemma;
- Articulate the fundamental values at work within the dilemma; and
- Recognize the issue as either a "right versus wrong" moral temptation
or a "right versus right" ethical dilemma that pits two valid
but opposing principles against each other.
SESSION 4: Dilemma Resolution
The last session explores three decision-making principles—Ends-based,
Rule-based, and Care-based, drawn from the traditions of moral philosophy—that
help us determine whether a given decision:
- If followed would result in the greatest good for the greatest number (Ends-based); or
- If adopted would create a suitable rule for others to follow in similar
situations (Rule-based); or
- If adhered to would be in accord with the Golden Rule (Care-based).
The session then examines the dilemmas raised in Session 3 to suggest resolutions by:
- Describing competing "rights" present in the dilemma and identifying
the paradigms involved;
- Determining the "higher right" by applying the resolution principles;
- Recognizing that the "lesser right" is not "wrong,"
and that individuals drawn to it in this circumstance cannot be dismissed
as unethical; and
- Building consensus for a course of action based on the higher right in
accordance with the values defined in Session 2.
Call 888-607-0883 or complete the form below to schedule an Ethical Fitness
Seminar for members of your firm today.