The Ethical Infrastructure of Legal Practice in Larger Law Firms: Values, Policy and Behaviour

Posted: 26 Feb 2008 Last revised: 13 Aug 2014

See all articles by Christine Parker

Christine Parker

Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

Adrian Evans

Monash University - Faculty of Law

Linda Ruth Haller

University of Melbourne - Law School

Suzanne M. Le Mire

University of Adelaide - School of Law

Reid Mortensen

Independent

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of the cultures and organisational structures of large law firms on individual lawyers' ethics. The paper suggests that large law firms in Australia should consciously design and implement 'ethical infrastructures' to counteract pressures for misbehaviour and positively promote ethical behaviour and discussion. The paper goes on to explain what implementing ethical infrastructures in law firms could and should mean by reference to what Australian law firms are already doing and US innovations in this area. Finally, the paper warns that the 'ethical infrastructure' of a firm should not be seen merely as the formal ethics policies explicitly enunciated by management. Formal and legalistic ethical infrastructures that fail to support or encourage the development of individual lawyers' awareness of their own ethical values and ethical judgment in practice will be useless.

Keywords: legal ethics, law firms, lawyers

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Parker, Christine and Evans, Adrian and Haller, Linda Ruth and Le Mire, Suzanne M. and Mortensen, Reid, The Ethical Infrastructure of Legal Practice in Larger Law Firms: Values, Policy and Behaviour. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1098085

Christine Parker (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://law.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/christine-parker

Adrian Evans

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Linda Ruth Haller

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Suzanne M. Le Mire

University of Adelaide - School of Law ( email )

Ligertwood Building
Adelaide 5005, South Australia SA 5005
Australia

Reid Mortensen

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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