Breaking free: The role of the lawyer in a corporate environment

As WagArb continues to grow and attract young lawyers, students and trainees, I find myself often talking – or should I say lecturing? – about the role of the lawyer in today’s professional environment. I have been told by some that I should write this down.

My thoughts revolve around a central question: how and to what degree does the role of a lawyer, in the true sense of the profession, fit into the concept of a professional law firm with a corporate structure? Are the interests of each compatible, or are the characteristics of the corporate environment inherently at odds with the core duties and obligations of individual lawyers?

This question is pertinent because the legal profession is a liberal profession. This means that the lawyer maintains a free and independent position and is beholden to her or his conscience only, within the boundaries of the mandate that has been given to her or him by the client. Thus, the liberal profession of law is arguably not a service which should be submitted to the rules of business. Rather, it is a profession which entails individual responsibility in safeguarding the practice and the rule of law. How then can a legal professional truly fulfil their role, given the trend of developing corporate structures as we see in law firms today all around the globe?


About Wagner Arbitration

The law firm WAGNER Arbitration has its offices in Berlin and specializes in dispute resolution with a focus on arbitration. In addition, the firm offers comprehensive counseling services related to domestic and international business disputes and transactions.