Law as a Profession: Examining the Role of Accountability
In asserting that law is a profession, not a business, lawyers often refer to the role that self-governance plays in the legal profession. Julius Henry Cohen captured this sentiment in the following exhortation: “Ours is a profession...The sins of one of us are the sins of all of us.” Come, brethren, let us clean house.” Meaningful self-governance requires accountable and independent professionals. This article tackles accountability as fundamental aspects of professionalism. The examination of accountability considers fissures in accountability as demonstrated in lawyers’ rush to jump on the limited liability bandwagon and resistance to mandatory legal malpractice insurance and insurance disclosure requirements. The article closes with a exposition on lawyer self-interest and the importance of inculcating a sense of financial responsibility as a distinguishing characteristic of law as a profession.