The Long Arm of the Law: Renewed Emphasis on Ethics Means the Institute Must Promote Professional Integrity

By Harmon, Laurence | Journal of Property Management, November-December 2004 | Go to article overview

The Long Arm of the Law: Renewed Emphasis on Ethics Means the Institute Must Promote Professional Integrity


Harmon, Laurence, Journal of Property Management


Unless you live in Minneapolis, you've probably never heard of the University of St. Thomas. Even if you have, you probably aren't aware St. Thomas has a brand new law school, which has as its vision "supporting and encouraging" its students' "deepest ethical principles into their professional character and identity." A law school dedicated to injecting its attorney-graduates with the "deepest ethical principles"?

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Those of you who share the widely held opinion that lawyers' ethics are about on a par with those of politicians and used-car salesmen may doubt there's a market for an ethics-driven law curriculum. However, the law school currently has 340 students and an $82 million endowment.

Ethics, Law Students and Property Managers

So, what difference does it make to a property manager in East Orange, N.J., that the mission of a Minneapolis law school is to graduate lawyers who will, as the school's catalog puts it, "integrate their personal ethics with their professional lives"?

First, the success of this law program suggests there are prospective lawyers who believe they will be better practitioners because they've had an ethics-driven education, and also that they'll be more marketable and employable. Second, and more importantly, the marketability and employability factor extends to property management.

Every three years, the Institute conducts an image study among owners and investors--prospective bosses and clients--to see how they perceive the CPM designation. According to the most recent study, when asked the most important credentials for property managers, fully 99 percent of respondents reported the "level of honesty and professional integrity" is somewhat or very important when hiring or evaluating a property manager. …

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