More than one in five law students polled in the UK and the US admit that they would falsify time records for personal and business gain, according to a study of student ethics. Meanwhile, female law students tend to think more in ethical terms than men.
The president of the Supreme Court last week called for a debate on the ethical implications of artificial intelligence and for “greater prominence” for ethics in legal training. Lord Neuberger also warned once again of increased potential for ethical conflicts in alternative business structures owned by non-lawyers.
Half of in-house lawyers face having to advise on ethically or legally debatable actions, while a similar number complain that actions are sometimes taken against their advice on “legally important matters”, a major report has revealed.
A former partner in a criminal law firm has described how he deliberately broke professional rules to get a murderer convicted. Steve Chittenden said: “The dilemma is between the rules and natural justice.”
Court of Appeal: judges working as barristers do not have to disclose “every ongoing piece of litigation”
Appeal judges have ruled that part-time judges who are working as barristers do not have to reveal details of “every ongoing piece of litigation” they are dealing with to ward off accusations of bias.
Increased risks accepted by commercial lawyers in an effort to please their clients could result in “law firm collapse”, a report for the Solicitors Regulation Authority has warned. Three-quarters of lawyers told researchers said they were “forced to accept more and more challenging terms of engagement with little room for discussion”.
An influential think tank has called for the introduction of compulsory pro bono for lawyers, set at 10% of their “work output”. It said that for many lawyers, the law had become “no more than a revenue-generating business”.
Leading legal academics are developing a blueprint for ethical in-house practice, amid growing evidence that general counsel are under increasing pressure to compromise their professional ethics.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority is planning a major consultation on ethical values with the profession and the public next summer, chief executive Paul Philip announced yesterday.
Consumers and businesses believe that drafting “legally accurate and effective” documents is a more important quality of a competent solicitor than following professional rules, a major study has found.