In-house and government lawyers have workplace environments and professional needs which differ to those of practitioners working at large law firms. In-house and government lawyers are, of course, subject to the same ethical responsibilities as other lawyers, yet there may be certain additional restrictions or considerations to take into account.
Government lawyers, for example, are arguably held to higher standards of integrity than their counterparts in the private sphere, due their role as guardians of the public interest. In-house and government lawyers are placed in the unique situation of being wholly reliant upon a single ‘client’, their employer, for all of their work. This can lead to ethical pressures as practitioners attempt to balance their employer’s commercial interests with their paramount duty to the court and the administration of justice.
In-house / Government Lawyers Committee
The Law Society of Western Australia’s In-house / Government Lawyers Committee promotes and supports the specific needs of in-house and government lawyers. The Committee meets on a monthly basis and has members drawn from Local, State and Federal Government; the university sector; the not-for-profit sector, resources and construction companies as well as Legal Aid, Director of Public Prosecutions and State Solicitor’s Office.