Ranking the Advice of Law Firms with quasi-CSR metrics

Context: The behaviours of law firms (groupings of humans who have organized to work together to provide services relating to the legal system) have undeniable effects on the rules (laws) we are supposed to follow in society. The biggest effect of a law firm is the advice it gives and the way it shapes the law. Law firms can have widely varying moral standards in the advice they give, and sometimes indiscretions get called out when their advice is deemed invalid / unconstitutional in the courts, which may hurt their reputation. They are holistic consulting companies for their clients, but they are arguably more powerful because the advice they give may shape the law, whereas most consulting companies avoid legalistic matters. The law is something that touches many aspects of human interaction, and the way the law is applied has major societal implications.

Idea: Hold law firms accountable through a ranking system of how they behave in their core business. This is not about the charity work they do or their paper-saving policies. This would be about their ethics and how much they are champions of environmental stewardship, human rights, and social justice issues. This ranking could start small with the biggest few firms in the country and/or by looking at the worst offenders of environmental protection and human rights in their advice. As part of the ranking system, firms could be given training for their staff to help them reflect on the effects of their advice on various aspects of society.

Problems:

  • Like the Social Responsibility of Corporate Marketing (and most human behaviour ranking systems), this is a subjective measure.
  •  It may be hard to gain access to enough information to put together a ranking, and the advice that law firms give clients can sometimes be confidential until it is presented in court or in an agreement.
  • This would take considerable resources to put together.
  • Many firms may still see CSR as charity work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s