On Further Reflection: How “Professional Self-Regulation” Should Promote Compliance with Broad Ethical Duties of Law Firm Management

This Article questions the traditional lawyer regulation regime that took shape when solo practice was the norm and its adequacy to promote ethical compliance in today’s law firms and other lawyer workplaces, which require extensive management. Although the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct recognized this in 1983 by requiring law firm “partners” to make reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with the rules by both firm lawyers and staff, this Article argues that three features of the traditional regime make it hard to enforce these broad duties of management sufficiently to encourage the implementation of sound ethical infrastructures. It then considers how to make enforcement more effective and concludes that the most promising reform, suggested by recent regulatory reforms in Australia, would be more proactive, management-based regulation.