A duty of in-house lawyers to make sure the client follows legal advice?

A survey done in February 2006 by Mahlab Recruitment and Harris Cost Lawyers produced data from members of the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association (ACLA). Some of the comments made by the respondents had to do with integrating the legal department into business decisions and activities (at 12). The one that made me pause and think was “ensuring internal management follow up legal advice.”

That objective troubles me, because it is hard enough to give management good legal advice, let alone keep track afterwards to see whether they act in conformance with that advice. It is easy to say that no lawyer should be content with simply giving the right advice, if the client will disregard it, but if the onus of responsibility lies on the lawyer to ensure compliance, the lawyer’s responsibility and workload will soar.

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