Rejecting the Culture of Independence: Corporate Lawyers as Committed to Their Clients

Studies in Law, Politics and Society, Vol. 52, pp. 33-71, 2010

University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-06

71 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2010  

Robert Rosen

University of Miami - School of Law

Date Written: October 25, 2010

Abstract

This article proposes that corporate lawyers be studied as committed to their clients, asking how they advance exercises of power by those whom they have chosen to represent. Currently, corporate lawyers are studied as independent from their clients, asking how they resist client demands. Such research continues despite repeated findings that corporate lawyers are not independent. This article explains the puzzling persistence of independence by cultural understandings of both professionalism and law. It recovers a submerged historic voice in which corporate lawyers are judged by their position in a network of relations. It argues that it was the organization of the corporate law firm as a factory which allowed it to become a professional ideal. Market competition has led corporate law firms to move away from a factory model to one in which commitment to clients, not independence from them, is the organizing principle.

Keywords: lawyers, profession, legal culture, law firms

JEL Classification: D23, J24, J44, K49, M55, Z10

Suggested Citation

Rosen, Robert, Rejecting the Culture of Independence: Corporate Lawyers as Committed to Their Clients (October 25, 2010). Studies in Law, Politics and Society, Vol. 52, pp. 33-71, 2010; University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1697730

Robert Eli Rosen (Contact Author)

University of Miami - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 248087
Room 370
Coral Gables, FL 33124
United States
305-284-4801 (Phone)
305-284-6506 (Fax)

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