The Changing Landscape of Corporate Legal Practice: An Empirical Study of Lawyers in Large Corporate Law Firms

  • Ronit Dinovitzer
  • Hugh GunzandSally Gunz
Keywords: Legal Ethics, Law Firms, Corporate Law Firms, Ethical Decision-Making


The authors of this study interviewed over 100 lawyers carrying on corporate practice in large Canadian law firms. The study examined how certain trends in law practice – increased competition, the goal of being “businesslike” and the decline in life-long partnership tenure – influence the ethical decision-making of lawyers. The study also explored how influence and pressure from clients, and from the lawyers in their firms responsible for managing relationships with those clients, affects the ethical choices made by lawyers. A further object of the study was to identify the resources lawyers draw on – the law, ethical frameworks, their own judgments or the judgments of others – in resolving ethical dilemmas.


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