Date of Award
Tony Vernon Ph.D.
The personalities of lawyers are often categorized to be immoral, at least more so than those of other professionals. An abundance of literature parallels this generalization and depicts lawyers’ personalities as narcissistic, psychopathic and high in Machiavellian attitudes. Together, these three traits form the “Dark Triad” of personality. 53 law students from 3 law schools in Ontario completed a survey measuring their levels on the “Dark Triad”. Results show that the law students from the present sample do not display any “Dark Triad” trait significantly greater than the general population. It found that male law students were not significantly “darker” than female law students. 1st year law students were found to score significantly higher on the narcissism trait than both second and third-year students. There were no other significant differences between the students in different years of schooling. Those entering criminal law scored significantly higher on Machiavellianism than those entering tax law. No other fields of law differed significantly on any trait. These findings suggest that law students are not deserving of the pejorative stereotype assigned to them. It suggests that male law students are no more responsible for the stereotype than females. The present research implies that law school may actually reduce the narcissism trait suggested to be present in law students. Lastly, those aspiring to enter criminal law may be more responsible for the stereotype whereas those aspiring to enter tax law experience the most apparent wrongful stereotyping.
Newton, Jacob I., "Identifying the Prevalence of the “Dark Triad” Personality Traits in Law Students: Eradicating an Unwarranted Stereotype" (2015). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 22.