Corporate lawyer-client relationships: bankers, lawyers, clients and enduring connections

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Flood, John
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2016
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Abstract

Formal representations of lawyer–client relations are often characterised by their regulative aspects, including codes of ethics and practice. In this article I look inside the relationship by returning to the sociology of Georg Simmel, who closely examined the basic units of sociality, especially dyads and triads. Using examples drawn from empirical research on corporate lawyers and clients and banks, I open up the lawyer/client dyad and show that in most cases the practices of lawyers and banks add noise and interference to the relationship. The reason is that in many situations the basic unit of analysis for lawyer–client relationships should be the triad rather than the dyad. Whereas dyads are fundamentally stable, triads are the reverse, as they allow for alliances and defections creating permanent uncertainty. I take a number of examples where clients suffered in the alliances formed between their lawyers and the banks, leaving them on the periphery. It is time to recast the lawyer–client relationship as one fraught with ambiguity and instability, which raises questions about the nature of professionalism.

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Legal Ethics

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19

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1

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Commercial law

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