Ethics on agenda at in-house conference

IN-HOUSE lawyers will this week discuss the conflict between legal ethics and achieving company goals at the second annual conference of the American Corporate Counsel Association's European chapter.

The conference, at London's Conrad Hotel, Chelsea Harbour, on Monday and Tuesday, will tackle the sustainable ethics in corporate practice.

Susie Flook, UK representative on the chapter's board of directors and group legal counsel to the UK subsidiary of US food giant CPC, said maintaining a balance between the two roles of a corporate lawyer was a “continual problem”.

“On the one hand the in-house legal counsel is supposed to be the corporate conscience, and on the other hand they're supposed to assist the company in achieving its commercial objectives,” said Flook.

“Sometimes those two requirements clash.”

The association, which has more than 10,000 members across the US, launched in Europe last year. Flook says more than 100 lawyers working as in-house counsel have already signed as European members, including those working in US multi-nationals or corporations with US connections or those with US qualifications.

Speakers at this week's conference will include Carl Belding, senior counsel to IBM Europe and Coudert Freres lawyer Jacques Buhart.