Steven Vaughan will be talking about the beginning of an empirical project looking at the ethics of environmental lawyers. The starting point in thinking about lawyers’ ethics is of the lawyer as a zealous advocate who pursues her client’s interests. Other interests (such as the ‘public good’ or, say, ‘the environment’) are relevant to lesser or greater degrees depending to which school of lawyers’ ethics one belongs. My hypothesis is that while we might expect environmental lawyers to be interested in/have concern for the environment, the majority of them see their clients’ interests as paramount. There is limited data which supports this hypothesis from studies on environmental lawyers in the US, but there is no data on this topic in the UK. This project will aim to create that data set, through semi structured interviews with 30 environmental lawyers. This small project is part of a larger, 3 year ESRC Future Research Leaders project looking at ‘what corporate lawyers do’.
Steven Vaughan is a Lecturer at the Law School, University of Birmingham. He read Jurisprudence at Oxford (Corpus Christi College) and then worked as a solicitor in the City for nearly a decade, first with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and then with Latham & Watkins. While in practice, he advised multinational companies, governments, the UN and the World Bank on environmental risks arising from the merger and acquisition of multinational corporations and on leveraged and project finance deals. His environmental law research covers contaminated land, chemicals regulation and nanotechnology. Steven has previously held lectureships at Cardiff University and the University of Bristol.