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Filthy lucre: Lawyers' fees and lawyers' ethics - what is wrong with informed consent?

Moorhead, R; (2011) Filthy lucre: Lawyers' fees and lawyers' ethics - what is wrong with informed consent? Legal Studies , 31 (3) pp. 345-371. 10.1111/j.1748-121X.2011.00194.x.

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Abstract

This paper concentrates on the ethical tension created by lawyer billing. In particular, it examines the tension between a lawyer's commercial imperative to make a profit and their ethical obligation to promote their clients interest over their own. Conventionally, this conflict is resolved through the lawyer providing disinterested advice on (their own) costs and the client granting informed consent to billing arrangements on that basis. This paper uses empirical data to suggest that notions of disinterested advice and informed consent are deeply flawed when it comes to lawyers' fees. Clients passively consume exploitative practices. As a result, this paper argues that, where possible, regulators should supplant informed consent with an approach requiring simple charging: reducing professional discretion over charging practices and strengthening the market-based regulation of price. This requires a significant simplification of lawyers' fees wherever possible. © 2011 The Author. Legal Studies © 2011 The Society of Legal Scholars.

Type: Article
Title: Filthy lucre: Lawyers' fees and lawyers' ethics - what is wrong with informed consent?
DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-121X.2011.00194.x
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Laws
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1365442
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