Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Laws




Dr. Margaret Ann Wilkinson


This thesis asked whether corporate lawyers in both private practice and acting as in-house counsel differed in their attitudes toward distinguishing their professional obligations concerning the provision of “business” advice. This research establishes that these two groups of lawyers differ in their attitudes toward the provision of advice in two ways. In connection with providing business advice, in-house counsel more frequently a) feel that “murky lines” exist when distinguishing between legal and business advice and, b) look to ethics codes. This research reflects at its core an unresolved boundary between legal and business advice and provides a resolution to this issue by examining a philosophical approach that gives lawyers a greater opportunity to engage in practical reasoning. It also establishes a framework that can be used to determine whether a particular business communication is categorized as legal or non-legal in nature.