Ukraine, the Ethics of Client Selection, and the Limits of Lawyering

Hosted by the LSE Law School

MAR1.08, Marshall Building, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, United Kingdom


Trevor Clark

Trevor Clark

University of Leeds

Richard Moorhead

Richard Moorhead

University of Exeter


David Kershaw

David Kershaw

Dean, LSE Law School

The conflict in the Ukraine and resulting sanctions imposed on Russian companies and individuals in the UK and globally has brought into sharp relief the ethical questions around how lawyers determine whether they should accept a client mandate and how they advise and act for them responsibly. MPs have criticised lawyers as professional enablers of intimidation, which has prevented critique of those who are now sanctioned. On the otherhand, professional leaders opine on the rule of law implications of criticising access to justice for unpopular people. The seminar will explore: whether lawyers should be more willing to say no to a client mandate; whether there are, or should be, limits on how far lawyers should go in furthering their clients’ interests; and how do we ensure that those limits do not interfere with the core function of lawyers, to enable individuals to protect their rights and to ensure that we the live under the rule of law.

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Richard Moorhead is an empirical legal scholar who has worked on lawyers’ ethics and regulation, the courts and legal services, and access to justice. Interdisciplinary in approach, he has worked alongside economists, management scientists, and psychologists in such work, as well as with judges, Parliamentarians, policy-makers, and, professional regulators and representatives.

He has led many research projects on lawyers’ ethics (for instance his 2018 book is on the Ethics of In-house Lawyers, with Vaughan and Godhino); litigants in person; quality in legal aid; the effects of funding regimes on lawyer behavior; and, legal aid reform (community legal services, public defenders and contracting in particular).

Trevor Clark joined the University of Leeds as a Lecturer in January 2021. Prior to this he was a Teaching Fellow at University College London (UCL), between 2017 and 2020. He was a partner of the international law firm, Linklaters, from 2001 to 2017, in London and Hong Kong, specialising in international finance. Trevor obtained an LLB (1990) and an LLM (2018) from UCL, and in 2018 I commenced a PhD at UCL, an empirical study of the ethics and professionalism of corporate lawyers.

Professor David Kershaw is Dean of LSE Law School. He is also the General Editor of the Modern Law Review and an Associate Tenant at Cornerstone Barristers. He joined the LSE in 2006. Prior to joining the LSE he was a Lecturer in Law at the University of Warwick between 2003-2006. He is admitted to the New York Bar and is a qualified UK solicitor. Prior to his academic career, he qualified as a Solicitor at Herbert Smith, London and practised corporate law in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group of Shearman & Sterling in New York and London. He holds a LLM and SJD from Harvard Law School and a LLB from the University of Warwick.

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