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Ethics and law are not the same thing, and in business law it’s important to practice both!
We live in a world where white collar crime is rife. From the famous case of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes to Enron, we’ve seen enough to know that effective governance is essential in corporate businesses.
Anyone wishing to enter into the legal profession must have a strong moral compass, and it all starts with your training. At the University of Bolton, we’re in the Top 10 in the UK for Student Satisfaction in Law Courses* for the second year running, so there’s nowhere better to upskill with a business and law degree. Here, we share some of our tips for maintaining integrity in this profession:
Sometimes the law doesn’t always mean doing the ‘right thing’. And sometimes doing the ‘right thing’ doesn’t align with the law. There’s a big difference between law and ethics, and knowing how to practice both is key.
A good business law student should have a good sense of both, so they can carry out legal work without compromising ethical standards.
Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, managed to fool an entire workforce, multiple investors and millions of people around the world about the company’s blood testing technology. Within her organisation, there were intelligent lab managers, scientists, engineers, legal and financial minds, who all fell into the trap.
When working in a large organisation, or part of a wider cause, it can be easy to follow the crowd. But you should always follow your gut. If something doesn’t seem right, ask questions and stay alert.
As seen with both Enron and Theranos, in order for these companies to continue committing fraud for so long, people had to go along with it. It can start with small acts dishonest behaviour, but once your moral compass has been compromised, bigger acts of corruption can become much easier to transition into.
Never be pressured by clients, stakeholders or managers above you. Remember your values and stick to them.
Morals can be firm or flexible, but for those with a strong moral compass, they potentially value rigidity a lot more. According to David Pizarro, a Cornell University professor who studies moral reasoning, people tend to bend their values depending on the situation.
For instance, someone may consider it wrong to lie and steal, but will happily turn a blind eye to a friend or colleague stealing supplies from work. By having the same standards across all areas of life, you can maintain a strong moral compass wherever you, and in every situation.
If you’re studying business law, or you’re interested in doing an LLM course to further your career, remember to follow your heart and gut, and to put your integrity first. We hope you’ve found our blog post helpful!
Looking for a course in business law? As a leading Greater Manchester university with multiple accolades for our business and law degrees, there’s nowhere better to study in this subject. Our LLM programmes are open to graduates from all backgrounds, not just in law, and can be a fantastic way to upskill.
To find out more about applying for LLM degrees in 2022, see our available courses.
*Complete University Guide, 2022 & 2021
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