Moral Compass

How is an in-house lawyer like a sheep with a bell around its neck? (No, this isn't another bad lawyer joke.)

Answer: The in-house lawyer is the bellwether of office morality--if we choose to be. (If you're confused, here's the dictionary definition of bellwether: a sheep that leads the flock, usually wearing a bell; or, one who assumes a leadership or forefront position, particularly within a profession.)

It's simply far more difficult for a large group of lawyers in a big company to move with one moral voice, or to have the same level of personal influence. It's also harder for any one such lawyer to lead the flock. Imagine multiple, bell-adorned sheep in a sea of sheep, and the chaos that would ensue. Not a pretty sight.

Friedrich Nietzsche said, "Morality is the herd instinct in people." Now, while I would certainly disagree that true morality equates to the whim of a herd, it is human nature to follow the herd when it comes to defining what is "moral."


Michael Baroni

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