Employed lawyers (in-house counsel) compared to employed physicians (corporate doctors)

The Admin. Sciences Quarterly, June 2003 at 311, reviewed a book called The Company Doctor: Risk, Responsibilities, and Corporate Professionalism (by Elaine Draper). The author interviewed more than 100 professionals engaged as or working with physicians in large corporations “whose primary economic activity is not related to health care.” It troubled me that “corporate medicine is governed by practices that are in conflict with commonly held medical ethical standards” and that similar distortions may afflict employed lawyers.

I will not try to review the review, and very few readers have probably reached even this point in this blog post. Enough for me to point out, I suspect, that being an employee and a manager in a company changes the perspective of any professional, including lawyers, and raises ethical challenges. Role conflicts surely arise, yet in the US at least, the privileges of legal certification apply and the assumptions of objectivity and professionalism from lawyers hold.

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