corporate law; corporate lawyers; ethics


Here, I simply want to move things forward in the study of the professional responsibility of corporate lawyers in two ways that are somewhat related. One is to push harder on consciousness by looking more closely at the lengthy continuum— not a binary yes/no—in the awareness of wrongdoing risk as heavily influenced by the “slippery slope.” That is a layman’s intuition put to use well beyond academic research: armchair philosophers have long understood that the road to hell is not only paved with good intentions but starts in small, often unconscious steps that gradually grow larger and harder to stop. Looking at corporate lawyers’ professional responsibility through this lens has some interesting and, as far as I can tell, underexplored implications that help us understand the source of ethical apathy. The other is to consider the possibility that diminished interest in gatekeeping ethics among private practitioners might be offset by greater embrace of the possibility by in-house lawyers.