The Practice May/June 2019
The in-house lawyer occupies a complicated role—one that demands a fine ethical sensibility, between influence and compromise, professionalism and misconduct.
The Tournament of Influence
Tensions between influence and compromise, professionalism and misconduct, and reactivity and proactivity are at the heart of our book, In-House Lawyers’ Ethics: Institutional Logics, Legal Risk and the Tournament of Influence (published by Hart Publishing and cowritten with Cristina Godinho). In it, we pose the question: Can one be an insider and retain the mantle of professionalism?
The Inside Track
What are the types of skills demanded of in-house lawyers that effective training can help provide? Recognizing the in-house counsel revolution, law schools are beginning to adjust their curricula and approach to preparing students for careers as in-house lawyers.
The Lawyers' Lawyers
Beginning in the 1990s, the largely informal in-house roles within law firms—roles dealing with issues like conflicts, compliance, risk management, and ethics—crystallized into more formal ones. True to the narrative of the larger in-house counsel movement, many large law firms elevated the sophistication and importance of in-house legal functions as well as the lawyers overseeing them.
From Brussels to Paris
The general counsel of a company occupies a curious spot in the legal profession where the laws of gravity are not always clear. In this case study, Jacqueline Paradis, the recently minted division general counsel of Energie Internationale (EI), leaves a successful negotiation to find a deluge of new-and-unread emails and a phone battery in the red. Paradis must decide how to divide her attention on the eponymous 80-minute train ride home.
General Counsel Pen Open Letter on Diversity
In January 2019, more than 150 general counsel signed an open letter to law firm partners expressing dissatisfaction at the lack of diversity in firms and applauding “those firms that have worked hard to hire, retain, and promote to partnership this year outstanding and highly accomplished lawyers who are diverse in race, color, age, gender, gender orientation, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, and without regard to disabilities."
Checking the Balance
Sonya Branch is the general counsel of the Bank of England and executive director of its Legal Directorate. She joined Richard Moorhead and Steven Vaughan for a discussion around ethics and leadership of in-house counsel in large institutions.