Agency over technocracy: how lawyer archetypes infect regulatory approaches: the FCA example

Clark, Trevor, et al. “Agency over technocracy: how lawyer archetypes infect regulatory approaches: the FCA example.” Legal Ethics (2022): 1-20.

In this article, we look at the contested role of in-house lawyers in regulated organisations in the financial sector. A recent Financial Conduct Authority consultation on whether to designate the head of legal of banks, insurance companies and other financial firms as ‘Senior Managers’ and the decision which flowed from it, reflected a flawed view of lawyers as a neutral technocracy of mere legal technicians; we show how the FCA’s decision is potentially damaging to the public interest and failed to take into account that in-house lawyers are often important decision-makers and influencers within their organisations. We put the case for an alternative view; that in-house lawyers are professionals, with agency that requires them to act in accordance with ethical norms and means they should be made more accountable for their conduct.

Read the full article here.

Regulating Law Firms from the Inside: The Role of Compliance Officers for Legal Practice in England and Wales

Following the Legal Services Act 2007, which permitted the delivery of legal services through Alternative Business Structures (ABS), the Solicitors Regulation Authority required all regulated legal service firms to appoint Compliance Officers for Legal Practice (COLPs). COLPs are charged with taking reasonable steps to ensure that firms comply with their obligations, which entails interpreting what outcomes‐focused regulation (OFR) requires of the firm. Yet despite their importance, little is known about how compliance roles operate within legal service firms. We addressed this gap through a series of qualitative interviews that explored COLPs’ views of their roles, their attitudes to regulation, in particular to OFR, and to achieving compliance. We found that COLPs are a key regulatory mechanism in the context of firm‐based regulation and OFR and have a critical role to play in protecting and promoting professional values in both ABS and non‐ABS entities.

Full Paper Available Here

Sundeep Aulakh, University of Leeds – Work and Employment Relations & Joan Loughrey, University of Leeds