Anyone who is interested in ethical decision-making by in house counsel now has an exhaustive new study on which to draw. Entitled In House Lawyers’ Ethics: Institutional Logics, Legal Risk and the Tournament of Influence, the book is co-authored by Richard Moorhead, Stephen Vaughn and Cristina Godinho.
Here is the abstract:
This book provides an empirically grounded, in-depth investigation of the ethical dimensions to in-house practice and how legal risk is defined and managed by in-house lawyers and others. The growing significance and status of the role of General Counsel has been accompanied by growth in legal risk as a phenomenon of importance. In-house lawyers are regularly exhorted to be more commercial, proactive and strategic, to be business leaders and not (mere) lawyers, but they are increasingly exposed for their roles in organisational scandals. This book poses the question: how far does going beyond being a lawyer conflict with or entail being more ethical? It explores the role of in-housers by calling on three key pieces of empirical research: two tranches of interviews with senior in-house lawyers and senior compliance staff; and an unparalleled large survey of in-house lawyers. On the basis of this evidence, the authors explore how ideas about in-house roles shape professional logics; how far professional notions such as independence play a role in those logics; and the ways in which ethical infrastructure are managed or are absent from in-house practice. It concludes with a discussion of whether and how in-house lawyers and their regulators need to take professionalism and professional ethicality more seriously.
(for an excellent review of this book in JOTWELL by Professor Amy Salyzyn, see here).