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Professional Minimalism? The Ethical Consciousness of Commercial Lawyers

Moorhead, R; Hinchly, V; (2015) Professional Minimalism? The Ethical Consciousness of Commercial Lawyers. Journal of Law and Society , 42 (3) pp. 387-412. 10.1111/j.1467-6478.2015.00716.x. Green open access

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Abstract

his article investigates empirically, through semi-structured interviews, what shapes the professional ethical consciousness of commercial lawyers. It considers in-house and private practice lawyers side by side, interrogating the view that in-house ethics are different and inferior to private practice to suggest as much similarity as difference. In both constituencies, and in very similar ways, professional ethical concepts are challenged by the pragmatic logics of business. We examine how their ethical logics are shaped by these pragmatic logics, suggesting how both groups of practitioners could sometimes be vulnerable to breaching the boundary between tenable zeal for the client and unethical or unlawful conduct. Although they conceive of themselves as ethical, the extent to which practitioners are well equipped, inclined and positively encouraged to work ethically within their own rules is open to question. As a result, we argue professional ethics exert minimal, superficial influence over a more self-interested, commercially-driven pragmatism.

Type: Article
Title: Professional Minimalism? The Ethical Consciousness of Commercial Lawyers
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6478.2015.00716.x
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2015.00716.x
Language: English
Additional information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Moorhead, R; Hinchly, V; (2015) Professional Minimalism? The Ethical Consciousness of Commercial Lawyers. Journal of Law and Society , 42 (3) pp. 387-412, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2015.00716.x. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1468419
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