Many a 1970s-era corporate lawyer was conservative throughout. He—then, almost surely a “he”—had the job of advising his clients of the risks and downsides of the proposed strategy. Typically, and understandably, he would be largely concerned that the client didn’t run afoul of loan guarantees or the questioning eyes of investors.

While there were, of course, some lawyers who saw beyond the client’s financial bottom line, there were also those who didn’t care a whit about the moral vision of the corporation or its leader(s), the adverse impact his advice might have on the citizenry—other than the board and maybe the shareholders—or the potential for criminal charges other than as they impacted the corporate welfare if the client took a different path than he advised. Yes, many a lawyer strutted proudly in their Paul Stuart suits, uninterested in advising on anything but the financial impact of an action. And, indeed, that was then, and often nowadays is, his role.

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