The Code of Professional Responsibility in the Corporate World: An Abdication of Professional Self-Regulation

The American Bar Association’s Code of Professional Responsibility (Code or CPR) provides the foundation for the regulation of the legal profession by the members of the profession themselves. Although the drafters of the CPR have described it as a body of fundamental ethical principles applicable to all lawyers regardless of the nature of their professional activities, this article examines the vitality of the CPR and professional self-regulation in one particular area of lawyers’ activities: corporate practice? The article suggests that the legal profession has abdicated its self-regulatory role, discusses the consequences of this abdication, and advances some alternatives to remedy the failings of professional self-regulation in the area of corporate practice.