If commercial law falls short of moral acceptability, what a tension that creates for in-house counsel!

A.C. Grayling, Ideas that Matter: the concepts that shape the 21st century (Basic Books 2010) at 63 discusses business ethics. Grayling states, matter of factly, that “the boundaries of legal permission in all capitalist economies lie outside those of moral acceptability.” If that statement is correct, that what lawyers can uphold as a legal action is often beyond what society would accept as moral, then it is difficult to hold in-house counsel up as the champions of integrity and ethical behavior. It means they constantly could say, “Legally you can do this even though ethically it is suspect.”

I like to think that the law comports for the most part with ethics, but that is a naïve and self-deluded view by some critics of our business mores and cultural values.

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