ETHICS—LAW AND SOCIAL WORK: RECONCILING CONFLICTING ETHICAL OBLIGATIONS BETWEEN TWO SEEMINGLY OPPOSING DISCIPLINES TO CREATE A COLLABORATIVE LAW PRACTICE
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AbstractToday, mere knowledge of the law and judicial system is usually insufficient to zealously advocate for our clients. Legal disputes are rarely centered upon only legal concerns. An understanding of the importance of mental and emotional stability as well as interpersonal dynamics are frequently required in order to properly support our clients, advocate for them, and create future plans that will keep our clients out of the judicial system. As a result, many law schools offer joint degree programs embracing law and social work. In other cases, practicing attorneys and law firms enlist the help of trained professionals, many of whom are social workers. However, the law and social work professions are often at odds with one another with regard to advocacy tactics and ethical obligations. Recognizing the benefits of an interdisciplinary practice requires an understanding of how to reconcile these sometimes-incompatible disciplines.