Why Lawyers do the Ethical Thing

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Long title: 
Why Lawyers Do the Ethical Things They Do?
Author(s): 
Moliterno, James
Author(s)' contact information: 
Washington & Lee University, USA
Conference title: 
International Legal Ethics Conference VI
Conference location: 
City University London
Country: 
USA
Year: 
2014

Since the early 1990s, when David Wilkins published his influential paper Who Should Govern Lawyers in the Harvard Law Review, legal ethics scholars and teachers have paid attention to the range of processes and devices that govern lawyer behaviour. In this paper, I will report on the results of a study currently underway that seeks to provide empirical evidence to answer the question posed in this proposal’s title. Do lawyers train staff in confidentiality preservation because they fear bar discipline? Because they fear malpractice liability? Because they must comply with malpractice liability carrier demands? Because they honour client confidences for their own value and wish to protect them? Because the market forces them to do so? Because it is the right thing to do? The same, or similar, sets of questions may be asked about establishing conflict check procedures, devising their marketing to stay within norms, charging reasonable fees, and other professional ethics-related actions by lawyers. To gather data on these issues, I am conducting a survey of the bars of Florida and Virginia and will present on the findings.

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