In dependence: the paradox of professional independence and taking seriously the vulnerabilities of lawyers in large corporate law firms

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@article{58f1fd782f104ed8afb181e2d2156392,
title = "In dependence: the paradox of professional independence and taking seriously the vulnerabilities of lawyers in large corporate law firms",
abstract = "In this paper, and drawing on the work of Martha Fineman and others, we deploy a vulnerability lens as an heuristic device to push against the concept of professional lawyer independence as enshrined in statute and promoted by legal services regulators. Using interviews with 53 senior partners and others from 20 large corporate law firms, we show how the meaning and practice of independence are profoundly mediated by the contexts, relationships and interactions of corporate lawyers{\textquoteright} everyday working lives. Vulnerable tocompetition from other firms, the demands of clients, the shift over time from {\textquoteleft}trusted advisor{\textquoteright} to {\textquoteleft}service provider{\textquoteright}, regulatory requirements, pressures to make profit and so on, these corporate lawyers appeared prone to developing and normalising potentially risky and irresponsible practices. We therefore argue that a debate about corporate legal regulation is better based upon a richly theorised concept of inter-dependence that takes seriously the causes and effects of practitioner vulnerabilities in particular circumstances.",
author = "Emma Oakley and Steven Vaughan",
year = "2019",
month = mar,
day = "1",
doi = "10.1111/jols.12143",
language = "English",
volume = "46",
pages = "83--111",
journal = "Journal of Law and Society",
issn = "0263-323X",
publisher = "Wiley Online Library",
number = "1",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - In dependence

T2 - the paradox of professional independence and taking seriously the vulnerabilities of lawyers in large corporate law firms

AU - Oakley, Emma

AU - Vaughan, Steven

PY - 2019/3/1

Y1 - 2019/3/1

N2 - In this paper, and drawing on the work of Martha Fineman and others, we deploy a vulnerability lens as an heuristic device to push against the concept of professional lawyer independence as enshrined in statute and promoted by legal services regulators. Using interviews with 53 senior partners and others from 20 large corporate law firms, we show how the meaning and practice of independence are profoundly mediated by the contexts, relationships and interactions of corporate lawyers’ everyday working lives. Vulnerable tocompetition from other firms, the demands of clients, the shift over time from ‘trusted advisor’ to ‘service provider’, regulatory requirements, pressures to make profit and so on, these corporate lawyers appeared prone to developing and normalising potentially risky and irresponsible practices. We therefore argue that a debate about corporate legal regulation is better based upon a richly theorised concept of inter-dependence that takes seriously the causes and effects of practitioner vulnerabilities in particular circumstances.

AB - In this paper, and drawing on the work of Martha Fineman and others, we deploy a vulnerability lens as an heuristic device to push against the concept of professional lawyer independence as enshrined in statute and promoted by legal services regulators. Using interviews with 53 senior partners and others from 20 large corporate law firms, we show how the meaning and practice of independence are profoundly mediated by the contexts, relationships and interactions of corporate lawyers’ everyday working lives. Vulnerable tocompetition from other firms, the demands of clients, the shift over time from ‘trusted advisor’ to ‘service provider’, regulatory requirements, pressures to make profit and so on, these corporate lawyers appeared prone to developing and normalising potentially risky and irresponsible practices. We therefore argue that a debate about corporate legal regulation is better based upon a richly theorised concept of inter-dependence that takes seriously the causes and effects of practitioner vulnerabilities in particular circumstances.

U2 - 10.1111/jols.12143

DO - 10.1111/jols.12143

M3 - Article

VL - 46

SP - 83

EP - 111

JO - Journal of Law and Society

JF - Journal of Law and Society

SN - 0263-323X

IS - 1

ER -