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Hofstra Law Review

Abstract

In 1991 Professor Ted Schneyer wrote a seminal article calling for discipline of law firms. In that article, he used the term “ethical infrastructure” to refer to a law firm’s organization, policies, and operating procedures that cut across particular lawyers and tasks. In questioning how lawyer regulation focuses on the conduct of individual lawyers, he described the dynamics of practice and how various ethical breaches stem from organizational concerns that relate to lawyering in groups. Increasingly, legislators and regulators, as well as bar and firm leaders, have recognized the role of ethical infrastructure and culture in influencing lawyer conduct. Scholars, including Professor Schneyer have studied new legislation and initiatives that incorporate the concept of ethical infrastructure. To provide scholars and practitioners an opportunity to discuss law firm ethics and the impact of formal controls and informal influences on lawyer conduct, the Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics at Hofstra University and the Hofstra Law Review convened an April 5, 2013 Conference on the Ethical Infrastructure and Ethics of Law Firms. This piece introduces each symposium article. It concludes by urging experts to take the discourse to the next level by conducting empirical research related to firm infrastructure and culture.

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