Which way is your moral compass facing? Our quiz reveals all
As our Unprofessionals in Law column is forever pointing out, not every lawyer takes his or her lead from Atticus Finch. Some take theirs from rather less ethical role models, such as Lionel Hutz, John Milton (no, not that one) or Harvey Dent.
Ethics were centre stage again last week when Roll on Friday reported a story about a Capsticks lawyer getting thrown out for (in effect) petty larceny.
Which got us thinking. Just how ethical are lawyers, really? But of course there’s only one proper way to answer this most fundamental of questions.
Bring on the quizzage.
1. Ultimately, who’s the most important party in this game we call law?
a) Your client
b) Your firm
2. A collection envelope crosses your desk. It’s for a leaving present for someone you’ve never heard of. Do you:
a) Sign the card and pop a fiver in the envelope. It’s what you’d want someone to do if you were leaving
b) Sign the card but don’t make a donation. After all, it’s the thought that counts
c) Make sure no-one’s looking before grabbing a handful of notes from the envelope, then popping out to put it on Joker’s Lad in the 3.20
3. The Managing Partner, seeing you in the lift, congratulates you for a project that wasn’t actually yours. Do you:
a) Gently correct the MP, making sure that the lawyer who did the work gets the credit they deserve
b) Pretend you didn’t hear, and smile back nicely – one shouldn’t look a gift horse like this in the mouth
c) Accept the congratulations, and ask the MP to repeat them as a LinkedIn recommendation. Then suggest the lawyer who really did the work is actually a philandering alcoholic who regularly steals stationery and draws pornographic pictures of the MP’s spouse on toilet walls
4. Which of these sentences best describes what you do as a lawyer?
a) Ensuring that the rules of society and/or commerce are maintained, and an even playing field established for all
b) Helping your clients gain a competitive edge, but only within acceptable boundaries
c) Furthering the interest of the monied classes, and the devil take the hindmost
5. What is your ideal project?
a) Helping The Guardian on the Edward Snowden case – you’d love to use your skills on a project that genuinely contributes to social justice and global wellbeing
b) Helping an international retailer purchase real estate in Africa – it’s a chance to travel, and despite the globalization issue it’s a big step for consumerism and commerce in many up-and-coming areas
c) Helping a multinational oil company escape the consequences of blowing up a village that included an orphanage, a retirement home and a baby seal sanctuary
6. Who is your ideal client?
a) Pope Francis
b) Richard Branson
c) Ted Bundy
7. Finally, which of these clients would you not represent?
a) Anyone with values that do not correlate exactly with your own
b) Anyone with values that are not your own, but you can respect the client’s right to hold them
c) Anyone valuable enough to pay you loads of cash for doing their dirty work
How did you score?
Congratulations. You’re about as ethical as they come. Watch the doorframe on your way out, though – you don’t want to get a dent in that lovely halo.
Well, you’re pretty normal. Not too squeaky clean, but not exactly a monster either. You’ll probably retire rich with just a couple of indelible stains on your conscience.
Wow! You’ll probably make partnership early and then jack it all in to join the first UKIP cabinet. You’re lower than the soles of Piers Morgan’s loafers. Your moral compass has been well and truly smashed, urinated on and buried in the basement of an abandoned hotel. Go you! AB