Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Corporatisation, Keddies and professional ethics

I have been reworking some of my material on corporatisation in professional services for a conference paper I am delivering later this month.

One of the concerns associated with corporatisation is the risk that it might create new ethical conflicts. I dealt with this one briefly in a post in May 2007, Corporatisation and Professional Ethics.

One difficulty faced by those who would oppose new corporate forms on ethics grounds is the reality that ethical conflicts can already arise in a billable hours environment. In this context, the troubles that have beset the Australian compensation law firm Keddies Lawyers are instructive.

Those who are interested can find some coverage of the Keddies' issue here:

I am not in a position to comment on the detail of the Keddies case. However, if you stand back from the detail, you can see how existing billing practices can create ethical problems independent of the nature of firm structures.

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