Young Lawyers are Setting New Ethical Boundaries

( – Young lawyers are looking the blur the lines between innocence and guilt, with a new survey showing that a large percentage of younger law practitioners will refuse to work with clients they deem “unethical.”

The survey, conducted by legal firm Obelisk Support, said that more than two-thirds of young lawyers say that they should be given the option to refuse work on “ethical” grounds. The respondents also say that they would even refuse a higher payout if it was offered to them. These younger lawyers also say that issues like sustainability, diversity, climate change, and ‘purpose’ are much more important to them than monetary compensation.

The survey also show that these young lawyers feel that older partners in firms are “resentful” and hold back a cultural change in the practice of law. They claim that older lawyers are insecure that younger lawyers are enjoying “easier” circumstances. For example, one participant in the survey said that issues like mental health were not a concern in the past, so older lawyers who believe they worked hard and put in long hours to get to where they are now “perhaps” feel some “resentment” that a lot of younger lawyers today are asking for their employers to provide mental health benefits.

However, only a small percentage of lawyers – 18% – who participated in the survey say that their firm allows them to decline cases if they feel “uncomfortable” representing a client. In addition, only a little more than half the respondents, or 58%, say that they are working in a firm whose values are similar to theirs.

Obelisk’s CEO, Dana Denis-Smith, said that the younger crop of lawyers today “prioritizes sustainability beyond profitability” and want the culture of the practice of law to shift to that kind of mindset. As it stands now, many younger lawyers feel that he prevailing culture in law practice is generally “toxic” with too much emphasis on money.

Copyright 2023,