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Do we need a Lawyer’s Oath to improve ethics and client care?

By Jill King, Consultant and Former Global HR Director, Linklaters

8 August 2014

The lack of public trust in banking following the financial crisis and numerous scandals has led to a call for the introduction of a Banker's Oath. The idea, propounded by think tank ResPublica, is for bankers to swear an oath to "fulfil their proper moral and economic purpose".

Of course, there's a long tradition of professionals swearing oaths. Modern-day medics still swear the Hippocratic Oath at graduation ceremonies - an ethical code attributed to the ancient Greek physician and adopted as a guide to conduct by the medical profession throughout the ages. US attorneys swear an oath of office upon admission to the bar to support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. They vow to protect their clients' right to justice and to uphold the integrity of the profession and the Constitution. In the UK, judges and magistrates swear an oath of allegiance to the queen, but these sort of oaths say nothing about professional standards...

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