This Article combines contractarian economics and traditional ethical theory to argue for a revision of the legal profession's codes of ethics. That revision would replace the existing uniform conception of the lawyer's role with a more heterogeneous profession in which lawyers and clients could contractually choose the ethical obligations under which they wanted to operate. This contract model of legal ethics, in which lawyers could opt in and out of various ethical constraints, would lead to greater efficiencies and greater satisfaction for attorneys and clients. In particular, the paper explores the bargainer's problem of sorting honest collaborators from dishonest adversaries, and concludes that the legal ethics codes should be revised to facilitate self-identification by collaborative attorneys.
Scott R. Peppet
Organizations & Markets eJournal