1st Edition

Legal Ethics for Lawyers A New Model

By Barbara Mescher Copyright 2023
    142 Pages
    by Routledge

    142 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book proposes a new model of professional ethics enabling lawyers to advise clients upon both the law and ethics. This will better protect clients, and society, and enhance lawyers’ professional obligations. The current model of legal ethics, developed in the 19th century, specified that the role of lawyers was only to interpret the law, not also to give ethical advice. This was acceptable to lawyers, clients, and society at that time. However, this is not the case now and legal ethics no longer reflects the needs of modern legal practice. This book draws on moral philosophy to present a new model of legal ethics that explains the analytical process to include ethical advice. It analyses the potential harm of the present model to the legal profession who have duties to the law and justice that may compete with demands by clients to serve them. Further, lawyers’ duty to clients to act in their best interests is sometimes not adequately fulfilled as legal ethics does not permit lawyers to give ethical advice even if it may be in clients’ best interests to do so. The work includes a detailed case study of corporate law practice to show why a new legal ethics is required. Other case examples are provided to demonstrate that lawyers practicing in all areas of law encounter ethical issues and they too will benefit from a new legal ethics. The book will be essential reading for students, academics, lawyers and professional bodies.

    List of acronyms and abbreviations

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    Chapter 2: Lawyers and their clients

    Chapter 3: The James Hardie case study

    Chapter 4: Theoretical Legal Ethics: Positivist v moral principles

    Chapter 5: Legal ethics and moral philosophy

    Chapter 6: Lawyers’ professional obligations and moral philosophies

    Chapter 7: A new model of legal ethics

    Chapter 8: Conclusion



    Dr Barbara Mescher is a lecturer at the University of Sydney, Australia, in significant areas for business and the professions, including securities regulation, corporate governance and professional ethics. Barbara worked previously as a corporate lawyer and has continued to engage with the legal profession over several years as a member of the profession’s Corporate Lawyers' Committee and the Ethics Committee.

    Legal Ethics for Lawyers: A New Model demonstrates how an Aristo-Kantian model of theoretical legal ethics could address the moral vacuum created by the dominant positivist model of legal ethics and professional conduct rules. Dr Mescher is to be commended bringing a fresh and insightful perspective to the debate.’

    Professor Joan Loughrey, Professor of Law, School of Law, Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland

    ‘Legal Ethics for Lawyers: A New Model is an excellent study of a vitally important issue. The author develops a genuinely original model of legal ethics based on Aristo-Kantian principles to replace the prevailing positivist model and applies it to concrete cases. No-one concerned with legal ethics can ignore this book.’

    Dr David Wood, Principal Fellow, Melbourne Law School, Melbourne, Australia 


    ‘Barbara Mescher’s Legal Ethics for Lawyers: A New Model draws on Kant and Aristotle to develop a compelling practical legal ethics. It will be invaluable to all lawyers looking to go beyond narrow, positivist approaches to professional obligations.’

    Dr Hugh Breakey, Deputy Director, Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law, Senior Research Fellow, Moral, Legal and Political Philosophy, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia