Fifty-five legal ethics professors responded to my survey, which asked people to identify the other courses that they teach. There are roughly 500-600 people who regularly teach legal ethics (at least in the United States), which means that the response rate was around 10%. I'm not an expert on empirical analysis, but my sense is that this gives us a decent impression of the whole group. If anyone can calculate just how reliable the results are, please mention it in the comments. (Of course, there are some potential methodological flaws here, because the people who responded to the survey -- blog readers and subscribers to the legal ethics listserv -- are not necessarily representative of the whole group.)
With those provisos, these were the ten most commonly selected courses:
Civil Procedure (22% of respondents identified it)
Corporations/Commercial Law (10.9%)
Intellectual Property (10.9%)
Criminal Law (9.0%)
Constitutional Law (5.4%)
Family Law (5.4%)
Everything else was under 5%.
Seeing two first year courses at the top of the list was not surprising, because there are a lot of professors who have to teach first year subjects. What was interesting was which first year courses topped the list -- civil procedure and torts -- and which ones didn't appear in the top 6 -- property (3.6%) and contracts (7.3%).
Before administering the survey, my hunch was that legal ethicists tend to teach litigation-oriented courses, and these numbers bear that out, at least to some degree. Among first year courses, civil procedure and torts are litigation oriented, whereas property and contracts have a transactional focus. The 11% for IP and corporate law cut the other way (and were somewhat surprising to me, especially the percentage for IP), but overall, I think it is fair to say that the typical course package for a legal ethicist is litigation-oriented.
Consistent with the litigation-oriented theme was another interesting statistic: more than 12% of respondents teach a clinical course, making it the third most common course that legal ethics professors teach. I had an anecdotal sense that many clinicians teach PR, but I didn't expect the percentage to be quite this high. Clinicians at most schools don't teach too many doctrinal courses because of their clinical obligations, so this is a surprisingly high percentage. It's hard to tell for sure from this data, but I suspect that this means that clinicians teach legal ethics at a much higher rate than they teach other doctrinal courses.
Does anyone have any other interpretations of the data? Should we have any concerns that legal ethicists teach so many litigation-related subjects? I know there has been some criticism in the past that we don't pay enough attention to transactional work. Is this the reason?
Thanks to everyone who responded!