This article is a foreword to a Colloquium Issue, which highlights the multifaceted functions, roles, and obligations of the corporate lawyer.
As the articles in this Colloquium illustrate the role of the corporate lawyer – both as in-house and outside counsel – is instrumental in effectuating ethical lawyering, sound corporate governance practices, and law compliance. Although ethical precepts are plentiful with respect to the corporate attorney, relatively little meaningful enforcement currently exists. The current lack of enforcement stands in marked contrast to the days of yesteryear when more rigorous standards were implemented in both private and government litigation. This absence of accountability has little bearing on the great majority of corporate lawyers who act with competence and integrity, but the absence of meaningful enforcement enables miscreant lawyers to perpetrate misdeeds upon investors and other affected persons who are without adequate redress. This outcome is detrimental to investors, our securities markets, and the public’s perceptions of corporate attorneys.
The article discusses the many roles of corporate lawyers and then introduces the participating articles in the Colloquium, which encompass both theoretical and practical topics, identify important unresolved matters, and proffer concrete solutions to the dilemmas identified.
Steinberg, Marc I, Foreword: Corporate Lawyers: Ethical and Practical Lawyering with Vanishing Gatekeeper Liability (2020). 88 Fordham Law Review 1575 (2020), SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No 498.