Creating Space for Lawyers to Be Ethical: Driving Towards an Ethic of Transparency
Ostensibly there is little to connect the harried lawyer facing an ethical dilemma and the frazzled driver at an accident-prone intersection. The lawyer who miscalculates whether a former employer’s noncompete clause bars his client from selling a newly invented device does not appear to have much in common with the rush-hour driver at a major intersection. Nor does it appear at first glance that a second lawyer, who serves simultaneously as outside counsel to a corporation and personal counsel to its chief executive officer, c learn much from a driver who, for safety’s sake, has chosen to drive with her daytime running lights on. But if the first lawyer wants genuinely to be prepared to confront competency issues, or the second, her potential conflict of interest, they would both be advised to think like that driver at the intersection. They need to focus strategically on the circumstances of their situation. The lawyers especially might ask the kinds of questions that traffic engineers are increasingly trying to get drivers to ponder. Rather than roadway signs and ethical rules drivers and lawyers would be better served focusing some measure of attention on the structure of their environments.