School of Law

Understanding the Ethical Inclination of In-House Lawyers

05 February 2018 | 17:00 - 18:30 | Seminar
Liberty Building, G.32

The Centre for Business Law and Practice and the Centre for Innovation and Research in Legal Education are pleased to invite Professor Richard Moorhead to the School of Law. All welcome.

Richard Moorhead is Professor of Law and Professional Ethics and Vice Dean for research at University College London. His work focuses on lawyers’ ethics, professional competence, the regulation of legal services and access to justice. Often employing empirical methods, he has conducted a wide range of studies, including for the Ministry of Justice, Legal Services Board, Civil Justice Council, and the Law Society.

Recent and ongoing work includes a study of the ethical capacities of new advocates (with the Advocacy Training Council funded by the Legal Education Foundation); a study of the ethics, values and professional identity of law students in the US and UK; a major study on the role and ethics of in-house lawyers and an in-depth study of the conceptualisation and management of legal risk in corporations by in-house lawyers and compliance officers.

This talk explores what influences the ethical inclination of in-house lawyers. As a key group, in-house lawyers are increasingly seen as elite ‘quarterbacks’ for the legal profession, straddling the worlds of law and business with increasing pay packages and power. Yet scandal-prone organisations have led to an uncomfortable spotlight on in-house lawyers that have enabled, acquiesced in, or covered-up wrongdoing.  Even so, they maintain a key role as gate-keepers of legality in their organisations and for regulators. Our work (Moorhead, Vaughan and Godinho) provides the most comprehensive attempt to date to delve into the ethical inclination of in-house lawyers. Through interviews, vignettes, and the development of metrics for understanding the role orientations of in-house lawyers; their professional orientations; and their contexts we take a deeper look at the institutional logics at work. The study, we hope, provides insights into the question 'are in-house professionals professional enough?', but also into what supports and strengthens professionalism in their practice.

This event is hosted jointly by the Centre for Business Law and Practice and the Centre for Innovation and Research in Legal Education at the School of Law, University of Leeds.

Location Details

Liberty Building
Moorland Road
University of Leeds

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