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Columbia Law School

Columbia Law Review

Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Publication Year

Articles 1 - 2 of 2

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Attorney As Gatekeeper: An Agenda For The Sec, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2003

The Attorney As Gatekeeper: An Agenda For The Sec, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

Section 307 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act authorizes the SEC to prescribe "minimum standards of professional conduct" for attorneys "appearing or practicing" before it. Although the initial debate has focused on issues of confidentiality, this terse statutory provision frames and seemingly federalizes a much larger question: What is the role of the corporate attorney in public securities transactions? Is the attorney's role that of (a) an advocate, (b) a transaction cost engineer, or, more broadly, (c) a gatekeeper – that is, a reputational intermediary with some responsibility to monitor the accuracy of corporate disclosures? Skeptics of any gatekeeper role for attorneys ...


Moral Pluck: Legal Ethics In Popular Culture, William H. Simon Jan 2001

Moral Pluck: Legal Ethics In Popular Culture, William H. Simon

Faculty Scholarship

Favorable portrayals of lawyers in popular culture tend to adopt a distinctive ethical perspective. This perspective departs radically from the premises of the "Conformist Moralism" exemplified by the official ethics of the American bar and the arguments of the proponents of President Clinton's impeachment. While Conformist Moralism is strongly authoritarian and categorical, popular culture exalts a quality that might be called "Moral Pluck " – a combination of resourcefulness and transgression in the service of basic but informal values. This Essay traces the theme of Moral Pluck through three of the most prominent fictional portrayals of lawyers in recent years – the ...