CELs launches Ethical Leadership Initiative for In-house Lawyers

1 April 2015

The UCL Centre for Ethics and Law today published its report Legal Risk: Definition, Management and Ethics as the first stage in its Ethical Leadership Initiative for In-house lawyers.

The report raises key questions about the role of in-house lawyers in balancing commercial and professional considerations; the readiness of in-house lawyers for the complex leadership and management tasks involved in legal risk management; and the extent to which professional ethics are embedded within those teams.

Director of the UCL Centre for Ethics and Law, Professor Richard Moorhead, said: “Growing evidence, our research and some anecdotal commentary suggests that the role of General Counsel is under increasing pressure. Their professional ethical boundaries are not as well drawn as may be necessary for the increasingly sophisticated world of in-house work.”

The report’s co-author, Dr Steven Vaughan of the Birmingham Law School, said: “One of our respondents told us: ‘In-house legal management is in its infancy.’ What is also clear is that the more-for-less challenge, and the need to be commercial and influential within a business context can pose significant ethical challenges for in-house lawyers. They and their businesses are not always well prepared for such challenges.”

In the coming months, the team will be conducting with General Counsels and other in-house lawyers a series of ‘Town Hall’ meetings in major centres around the UK, structured interviews and an online survey. The aim is to produce a White Paper on the Ethical Content of In-house Lawyers in collaboration with the professional community.

Stephen Mayson, an Honorary Professor at UCL Laws and one of the leaders of the project explained: “We are certain that in-house lawyers know best what the tough issues are and how they manage them. This is therefore a facilitated forum for debate, a place to offer and share insight, to share resources and help shape the needs of the General Counsel as well as serving the interests of the profession and of business.”

Read the report

Download Legal Risk: Definition, Management and Ethics by Professor Richard Moorhead and Dr Steven Vaughan.

Legal Risk: Definitition, Management and Ethics by Professor Richard Moorhead (UCL Centre for Ethics and Law) and Dr Stephen Vaughan (University of Birmingham)

Page last modified on 01 apr 15 12:27

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