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This assessment of the corporate governance role of corporate lawyers in the UK analyses the extent to which lawyers can and should act as gatekeepers, counsellors and reputational intermediaries.
Focusing on external and in-house lawyers' roles in both dispersed share-ownership and owner-managed companies, Joan Loughrey highlights the conflicts of interest that are endemic in corporate representation and examines how lawyers should respond when corporate agents provide instructions contrary to the company client's interests.
She also considers the legitimacy of 'creative compliance', the ethical arguments for and against lawyers prioritising the public interest over their clients' interests, and their exposure to liability if they fail to perform a corporate governance role.
Finally, she considers whether the reforms to the legal profession will promote the lawyer's corporate governance role and advances suggestions for reform.