The Ethical Infrastructure of Legal Practice in Larger Law Firms: Values, Policy and Behaviour
Posted: 26 Feb 2008 Last revised: 13 Aug 2014
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: Suggested Citation