Trying hard to be objective about attacks on the objectivity of inside lawyers

A recent post quoted someone on the view that in-house lawyers have less objectivity than external lawyers (See my post of Jan. 13, 2011: less independence inside.). This “less-objective” rationale parallels the deplorable reasoning of the European court in the Akzo Nobel decision that rejected in-house attorney client privilege. It irritates me to hear the charge. Not that either side is free of blemishes, but each of them in their own ways is behold.

Also, it strikes me as ironic that some senior executives avoid inside counsel – despite their alleged fealty and malleability – and prefer outside counsel – ostensibly with stiffer spines. Why don’t they favor the pushovers?

A metaposts collected posts over the past years that addressed the putative gap in objectivity (See my post of Jan. 22, 2009: objectivity of in-house attorneys with 11 references.). Since the first metapost, however, more comments have appeared on the same subject (See my post of June 10, 2009: similar reasoning regarding consultants; June 16, 2009: dual role as GC and head of business unit; Aug. 20, 2009: limitations on access by in-house counsel to documents disclosed during discovery; Oct. 27, 2009: we can’t be objective about how we made management decisions; Dec. 21, 2009: contrarian argument; March 9, 2010: government perceives outside counsel to have more independence; July 22, 2010: independence of chief compliance officers; Nov. 2, 2010: $50 million from Shell yet independent firms; and Nov. 27, 2010: bonuses from business units to specific lawyers.).

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