In 2005, the large national Australian law firm, Allens Arthur Robinson (‘Allens’) won the Business Review Weekly – St George ‘Client Choice’ awards for being best large law firm, and also best large professional services firm of the year. The managing partner was quoted explaining how the firm had won these accolades:
We don't run this place as a holiday camp … We expect our people to treat the client as if they were God and to put themselves out for clients. You don't say ‘Sorry I can't do it, I'm playing cricket on the weekend’ … You don't have a right to any free time.
Lawyers employed in commercial law firms and those employed ‘inhouse’ in a company's legal department often also seem to talk and behave as if they have no right to a free conscience or independent moral judgement either. If you are a corporate lawyer, it is not seen as your job to have a moral opinion about your clients' (or employer's) activities. To express one may jeopardise your career.
Traditionally it was thought that the external lawyers for a company were automatically more independent and more capable of giving fearless, ethical advice to corporate clients if they thought their client was behaving wrongfully than were internal or inhouse lawyers employed inside the company whose whole job depended on the company.