corporate law; corporate lawyers; ethics


This Article contends that these autonomy-based defenses of the standard conception cannot withstand the “economic inequality” objection. According to this objection, the moral worthiness of lawyering under the standard conception cannot be reconciled with a legal system that is so marred by gross economic inequality such that only the wealthy have access to lawyers. It can also not be reconciled with the fact that the wealthy routinely use lawyers to undermine the public interest and exploit others who cannot afford lawyers. After examining responses to the economic inequality objection, this Article concludes that these responses do not take seriously how economic inequality can interact with the principle of neutrality to exacerbate inequality. Specifically, they fail to consider the possibility that lawyers, acting according to the principle of neutrality, will foreclose others’ access to lawyers (and thereby the law) and undermine their autonomy—the very value that underwrites these defenses.