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Title: Adding Value For Lawyers, Clients, and the Public: The Business Benefits of Ethically-Informed Practice
Contributor(s): Carter, Justin (author); Corbin, Lillian (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2009
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: There is a growing sense the public no longer accepts that something can be legal and yet unethical, particularly in relation to the conduct expected of legal professionals. Nationally, law societies appear to be responding and making an effort to ensure that their members attain the goals set for them by the public. In 2006, the Queensland Law Society ("QLS") conducted a survey and found that most instances of ethical misconduct by members happen as a consequence of 'extra and unexpected pressures on the practitioner, lack of preventive or check-up systems in the workplace, or more generally the existence of an unethical culture at the firm'. As a result, the QLS recognised that a rules-only approach does not adequately cover all the issues that lawyers will face. Instead, it recommended that lawyers, in considering their advice to clients and their personal behaviour, reflect on the values that inform their choices, keeping in mind that lawyers play an important role in society. In other words, to be truly ethical, a lawyer ought to make decisions only after the implications of those decisions are considered. Significantly, the QLS stressed the importance of convincing both professional bodies and individual law firms that the environment they create through the activities of their members shapes the consequences of lawyers' daily decision-making. In effect, the preferred ethical approach should involve professional bodies, law firms, and individual practitioners. Legal academics also acknowledge that the professional rules alone do not always provide an answer to ethical dilemmas, and some different approaches to lawyering have been proposed. These alternative conceptions of lawyering promulgate the idea that lawyers often refer to other values, like morals, to guide their decisions. This may, and even should, involve lawyers in a more open discussion with their clients about the consequences of lawyers' 'legal', but not necessarily ethical, advice. In reflecting on some recent 'unethical' world events like Enron, Rhode comments that it is 'a good moment for moralists' and 'integrity is in fashion'. Yet will law firms embrace the proposals of both the law society and academics?
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: University of Queensland Law Journal, 28(2), p. 291-308
Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Place of Publication: Brisbane, Australia
ISSN: 0083-4041
Field of Research (FOR): 180121 Legal Practice, Lawyering and the Legal Profession
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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