BUSINESS ETHICS: IMPORTANCE OF INTEGRITY FOR LAWYERS 9
The capability to detect and handle intricate business ethics issuesis an important priority in managing 21st century businesses.Business ethical issues have the capability of influencing thepublic’s viewpoints towards business, as well as destroying trust.Business ethics encompasses the principles, standards and values,which direct conduct in the business world. Under values isintegrity, widely applied for assessing actions, which may becomeethical issues. The issues can arise from any decision arrived at ina company. Integrity is a basic value employed by managers increating an interior organizational culture of trust. In theorganizational context, it regards to uncompromising observance tovalues. Integrity is linked to behaving ethically, and is determinedby an organization’s indisposition to diverge from standards ofconduct as laid out by the industry. Integrity applies to allprofessions, since they are all guided by ethical values, which oughtto be followed. This paper discusses the importance of integrity forlawyers.
Importance of Integrity for Lawyers
Integrity is amid the most relevant and frequently cited aspects ofvirtue and regards to being complete, sound, as well as in anunimpaired situation (Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell, 2013). It isa value relating to the quality of a product, transparency,associations and open communication. Businesses are supposed toadhere to rules, while making sure no harm is caused to clients,workers, or even different competitors via fraud, compulsion ormisrepresentation. Though businesses frequently act in their personalself-interest, business associations ought to be based on values likeintegrity. Failure to meet the integrity expectation harms trust,making it hard, if not improbable to advance business exchanges.Integrity, together with other values, acts as the glue holdingbusiness associations in unison, making all other aspects effectualand resourceful (Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell, 2013).
Holder (2013) argues that integrity is very important inorganizations. Lack of integrity ruins the status hence,organizations need to demonstrate their integrity by operating inline with lawful, institutional as well as social culture limits. Inthe place of work, integrity is all about choices, which are active,can be measured and actionable. Holder (2013) progresses to use manycase studies to demonstrate the manner in which multinationals mayprevent harming their reputations, by managers actively promoting aculture of responsibility, which is what integrity advocates for. Theargument for a culture of responsibility is founded on twopresumptions. These are the fact that it is probable and beneficialfor integrity to be included in an organization’s culture by notcompromising its bottom line and various major drivers have alteredthe business setting, leading in enhanced transparency as well asopenness to corruption, requiring that managers conduct thoroughreputational due diligence, to evade or reduce perils to theirbusinesses.
There is an increasing significance of businesses to act ethically.This involves demonstrating integrity despite the changing marketconditions that make it difficult for organizations to maintain abalance amid financial performance and social performance. Theinternational economy is getting more intricate, as well as verycompetitive. Advent technologies are being advanced. Advent productsand procedures founded on the new technologies are being formulated,in addition to new markets opening up (Hosmer, 2011). The outcome isthat workers in all phases of a business feel the pressure to enhancesales, minimize expenses and fasten operations. The pressures resultin performance ranking. The challenge is that decisions on businessoperation are taken founded on reaction to the pressures (Hosmer,2011). This means that little consideration is given to operatingethically while conducting business. With lack of integrity, as aresult, it becomes difficult to maintain the trust of customers whoare the main financial drivers. Businesses that are incapable ofmanaging the reactions will face moral challenges.
Freedman (2007) says that one of the major challenges at the placesof work is ensuring integrity. The author further notes thatintegrity means acting morally whether in the presence of others oralone. It involves working by dedicating oneself to acting ethicallyand in all work situations. A defining factor of integrity is the wayin which persons and companies tackle adversity. It is simple to dowhat is correct during good periods however, acting morally duringthe worst instances depicts what individuals and companies comprise.Integrity is an intangible that has the capability of affectingorganizations in tangible manners. Freedman (2007) notes that lawfirms fail to observe integrity in their operations in differentmanners. These include the lack of a capability to prioritize, aslawyers have to juggle between the many working hours and servingclients. For instance, an attorney that is incapable of meeting theobjective of billable hours drifts by rounding time used, throughcharging two different clients for the similar study time since itapplies to both, or even including more hours to the contingent file,which only works to make the objective of hours attainable (Freedman,2007).
All through the Bible, it is possible to identify the importance ofintegrity. In the immoral globe we survive currently, it is apparentthat our integrity is not perfect. The many verses on integrityhighlight the importance of integrity, which are also applicable tolawyers. In the book of Proverbs, the Bible notes that the “integrityof the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by theirduplicity” (Proverbs 11:3). This means that an individual, whoemploys integrity in their work, will always do what is rightresulting in success. Contrary, using the illustration of a lawyerthat fails to treat their clients and work with integrity, theoutcome is failure to succeed. In Proverbs 28:6 the Bible makes itclear that “better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a richman whose ways are perverse.” This especially applied to today’sbusinesses, which are more focused on financial gratification thanacting with integrity. In business, we ought to work towards ensuringthat whatever we do is right, not just when there are people toobserve what we do, rather even when there is no one to judge ourwork. Second Corinthians 8: 21 reinforce this: “for we are takingpains to do what is right, not only in the eyes on the Lord, but alsoin the eyes of men.” The Bible also encourages people to act withintegrity. “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he whomakes his ways crooked will be found out.” It is difficult tomaintain integrity, especially as a lawyer when one feels the need toserve as many clients as possible. However, it is better to have afew trusting clients that will always become return customers to thelaw firm, than serve many clients that never return for services fromthe firm.
The legal profession has a crucial function, which is basic to anysovereignty. The freedom to lawful counsel, as well as representationis preserved and safeguarded by international rule (Lindner, 2014).Similar to all persons and professionals, it is apparent that lawyersmust not indulge in corrupt actions. However, as the defenders ofjustice, their indulgence in corruption may be specificallysubstantial. The view that lawyers, as well as law firms are engagedin corruption is rather widespread. In a survey by the InternationalBar Association, from 642 legal experts from 95 areas ofoperation, close to half regard corruption as a problem in the legalcareer both at home and in surrounding jurisdictions (Lindner, 2014).When discussing the issues of integrity among lawyers, it is apparentthat a lawyer must be guided by individual conscience, as well asgood opinion of professional peers. It is necessary that a lawyerwork to ensure the greatest skill level, to enhance the law and thelawful career, as well as epitomize the legal career’s ideals ofpublic service (Martin, 2010). Acting with integrity as a lawyer doesnot simply refer to following professional rules put in paper, ratherthe model rules act as a guide in legal practice. Acting withintegrity is for the benefit of the lawyer and not the profession.This is because a lawyer that is capable of working with integritydraws admiration from others, including referrals by clients toothers.
The Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligencedeclares that lawyers that provide financial advice and demonstrategreat levels of ethical, as well as emotional capability, almost“doubled their S&P 500 return on their client portfolios in theyears 2001 through 2004, delivering an average return of 25% (Muir,2007).” It is apparent that integrity has a strong impact on clientreturns. The research also concluded that integrity was the mainbehavior competency that foretold positive returns for customers.Muir (2007) refers to a lawyer demonstrating integrity as one thatacts constantly with regard to what one regards as important. Anillustration is a legal advisor that opts to forego a lucrativeclient instead of compromising their ideal. This involvesrecommending the client to get counsel from another lawyer, since thecurrent advisor is incapable of implementing an appropriate plan thatwill not place the client at financial peril (Muir, 2007).
Integrity is important for lawyers because they act as the guardiansof the law. Lawyers play a crucial function in preserving society(Legal Information Institute). The achievement of thisfunction mandates the comprehension by lawyers of their associationwith and work of the legal structure. In their line of profession,lawyers presume many functions requiring the performance of numeroushard tasks. It is not every condition that the lawyer might face,which is predictable, but basic ethical standards are present toguide the law practice. Integrity makes it makes it probable forclients to have confidence in the representation of lawyers asguardians of a free and fair community. A fundamental principle ofthe professional accountability of lawyers is that each individual inour community must have ready admittance to the self-governingprofessional services of integral lawyers. Ensuring the integrity andenhancing the proficiency of the bar in meeting the greateststandards is the ethical accountability of each lawyer (LegalInformation Institute).
The public seeks legal counsel from lawyers they suppose arequalified in the profession. It is difficult for a member of thepublic to tell whether an individual is competent or not. Hence, lawfirms need to be guided by integrity during the hiring and retainingof lawyers that will represent their clients. The public must besafeguarded from advisors that are not competent to be lawyersthrough reason of an insufficiency in schooling or moral ideals(Legal Information Institute). To ensure the upholding of highmoral, as well as educational standards within the legal career,lawyers need to help courts and different suitable bodies topositively promulgate, enact, and enhance prerequisites of admissionto the bar (Legal Information Institute). In the similar way,the bar comprises of a positive responsibility to assist in theprogressive enhancement of all stages of pre-admission, as well aspost-admission legal instruction. Integrity in the law profession canbe ensured when the behavior of lawyers violating the DisciplinaryRules is brought to the concentration of the suitable officials(Legal Information Institute).
Business ethics are important in every business. They act as theguiding principles ensuring that organizations act in morallyacceptable manners. An aspect business ethics is integrity. It refersto acting in manners that are not impaired. An individual that actswith integrity does not merely work for the financial benefitaccrued, rather works to ensure that their actions are appropriate.In the law profession, integrity is specifically important becauselawyers work involves protecting the sovereignty of civilians.Lawyers that act with integrity are more successful, compared tothose that do not. By demonstrating integrity, lawyers build thetrust of clients, who refer others it also ensures that lawyersretain clients.
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