Law in Contemporary Society
We seem to have come around pretty much full-circle in this thread, so I thought it might be time to try to refactor it. In opening this discussion, Esther posed several questions, which I have used to summarize the thread. I have also creates CapitalismCorporationsAndYou for discussion of some of the questions that I found to be most interesting. (PLEASE NOTE: I've never refactored a page before, and have certainly never deleted a bunch of other people's work and inserted my own summary in its place. I have also not seen these past versions of pages that are said to be in the wiki forever and ever. Here's hoping!)

Is being a corporate lawyer immoral?

  • There is nothing necessarily immoral about being a corporate lawyer per se, but it can sometimes lead to bad results, both for society and for lawyers. [AlexHu]
  • Working as a corporate lawyer does not necessarily involve profiting at the direct expense of society because society needs corporate lawyers, and being one of these lawyers is simply fulfilling one of society's needs. [AlexHu]
  • To those for whom corporate work is their life's calling, such work is neither immoral nor wrong. [AlexHu] (Because they are PursuingHappiness in their work?)
    • However, work that is personally satisfying is not necessarily morally neutral, and vice versa. [AndrewCase]
  • All lawyers have an obligation to do what's best for their clients. This may conflict with a moral view of what is good for society.
    • Working for a large law firm can exponentially add to that risk because of how much autonomy you're surrendering (Eben’s “pawning your license”).
    • It is important to avoid equating corporate with bad and public interest/government with good. Moral risk exists in varying degrees across a spectrum, and is not something that's only there in large corporate law firms. [AnjaliBhat]
  • What is the difference between being a corporate lawyer and being a blue collar worker? Doesn’t everyone have a right to make a living to support herself and her family? Is there more difference than her income?
    • People who want to have a sense of why what they do for a living is good for society must have faith in the justifications offered by their employers, which here means choosing to accept the employers’ creeds of capitalism and faith in the legal system.
    • The real question, then, is not whether corporate law is immoral, but whether the economic and legal systems are immoral. If so, and if it is not possible to change the system from within, then we have to conclude that corporate law is immoral. [MichaelDreibelbis]

  • Don’t we need corporate lawyers? And if so, who should be the corporate lawyers then, if we think we shouldn’t be?
    • Biglaw associates are fungible cogs. Whoever fills these positions, the net amount of evil produced by Biglaw work will be the same whether we participate personally or not.
      • This will have no negative cost to society so long as the people who choose to take those jobs stay out and leave the jobs for those that do want to work there.
    • Since we’re us, wouldn’t we be better able to mitigate the evil of a Biglaw position by being there in person rather than letting someone else do it? [GavinSnyder]
      • Maybe working from within a system is a more effective way to bring about change than attacking it from outside the system.
      • But in the same way that killing is a function of the executioner's job, perhaps the evil we see in law firms is simply within the nature of the law firm itself. [YoungKim ]
      • Might working within the system be better than throwing rocks at it from outside? [GavinSnyder]

  • Does WinningTheLottery bestow on us a responsibility to do something on behalf of the less fortunate? Is a failure to fulfill this obligation to society the moral failing of corporate law?

    • [In this thread: EstherKwak? , AlexHu? , GavinSnyder? , YoungKim? , MichaelDreibelbis? , AndrewCase? , LeslieHannay? ]

-- LeslieHannay - 03 Mar 2009


Webs Webs

r1 - 03 Mar 2009 - 05:35:44 - LeslieHannay
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform.
All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
All material marked as authored by Eben Moglen is available under the license terms CC-BY-SA version 4.
Syndicate this site RSSATOM