corporate law; corporate lawyers; ethics


Analyses of agents’ behavior normally focus on whether an agent is a good agent or a bad agent— whether or not an agent is faithfully pursuing the interests of her principal. But we should also consider whether a lawyer acting as a good agent is also promoting the public interest (i.e., a good citizen) or not (i.e., a bad citizen). Similarly, we should ask whether lawyers acting as bad agents are also harming society, or whether they may actually be promoting the public interest even though they are not promoting their clients’ interests.