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Unpublished Paper
Assessing the Foundations of Neo-Classical Professionalism in Law and Business
ExpressO (2011)
  • Robert E. Atkinson, Jr., Florida State University

This paper offers a neo-classical approach to corporate reform: Remodeling the private practice of corporate law and the management of for-profit business to make both occupations better serve, together, their proper public functions. Without dismissing the recent focus of reform on external regulation of corporations or internal restructuring of corporate governance, this paper seeks the foundation for a different approach, encouraging corporate managers and lawyers as professionals to serve their occupation’s correlate values: prosperity and justice. This focus on the primary agents of modern capitalism, corporate managers and lawyers, responds both to early management reformers like Brandeis in the U.S. and Tawney in the U.K. and to more recent critics of the professions from the sociological left, like Magali Larson, as well as the economic right, like Milton Friedman. And this shift integrates the “intramural” perspective of legal and business ethics with the “extramural” perspective of the sociology of work. The result is the foundation for a neo-classical professionalism in both law and business, a model for modern professionals seeking, collectively and individually, to serve the common good.

  • professionalism,
  • ethics,
  • corporate governance
Publication Date
February 25, 2011
Citation Information
Robert E. Atkinson. "Assessing the Foundations of Neo-Classical Professionalism in Law and Business" ExpressO (2011)
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