Book cover for 'Tangled Loyalties'
Google Preview

Tangled Loyalties

Conflict of Interest in Legal Practice
Susan P. Shapiro
An empirical study of how conflicts of interest arise in the private practice of law and how law firms respond


Tangled Loyalties recounts a 10,000 mile journey to learn systematically about the role of conflict of interest in the private practice of law. Weaving together the stories of a diverse collection of legal practitioners, Susan P. Shapiro takes readers where only the most mobile of lawyers have ever ventured—behind the closed doors of many law firms. She reports on the varied ways in which loyalties become tangled; how law firms seek to avoid conflicts of interest; how they identify, evaluate, and resolve them; how they interact with clients, adversaries, and colleagues over them; and how those experiences vary from LaSalle Street or Wall Street to Main Street and from mega-firms to solo practices. The book also analyzes the impact of conflicts of interest and the self-regulatory activities they inspire on the everyday practice of law.

Because conflicts of interest intersect with every aspect of legal practice, they provide a window on the legal profession. As lawyers describe how conflicts arise in their daily work, we learn about the nature of that work, about clients, colleagues, careers, law firm power and politics, economics, and ethics. We learn, in short, about what it means to be a lawyer in the United States today.

Tangled Loyalties also examines how other professions respond to the challenge of honoring the competing interests of those they serve. It turns out they don't do so well. What may come as a surprise to some, the fiduciary world has much to learn from the legal profession about ethics. These lessons tell us not only about the practice of law, but about the difficulties of rendering trust in complex societies.

Praise / Awards

  • "Tangled Loyalties is a tour de force in richly presenting the thoughts and analyses of lawyers confronted with the ever increasing complexity of modern law practice. . . . This book will become a classic in the tradition of Jerome Carlin's Lawyers on Their Own and will undoubtedly set the baseline for future study of this important topic."
    —Carrie Mendel-Meadow, Georgetown University Law Center
  • ". . . Shapiro has not simply provided a wealth of detail about the day-to-day experience of practising law in America, but offered some cogent and timely observations on the nature of role conflict in modern Western institutions. "
    —Julian Webb, University of Westminster, EnglandVol. 30:3 (2003)
  • "One of the many triumphs of Tangled Loyalties is that it transcends practice contexts to expose the very basics of what lawyers do and how they relate to their clients and their work. Few, if any, empirical studies of legal practice have the range and depth of Tangled Loyalties. . . . A well-crafted methodology and sophisticated analysis are the hallmarks of a Shapiro project. It will be a classic."
    —Nancy Reichman, University of Denver
  • "Shapiro's study offers unparalleled access to the day-to-day operation of self-regulatory procedures within law firms, and provides a strong foundation for future comparative research."
    —Elizabeth Chambliss, Harvard Law School, Contemporary Sociology, 32:4
  • ". . . a very rich book that will repay close attention. . . ."
    Law and Politics Book Review

  • ". . . a very rich book that will repay close attention. . . ."
    Law and Politics Book Review
  • winner, Section on the Sociology of Law's Distinguished Book Award, 2012

News, Reviews, Interviews

Review Law and Politics Book Review | 1/1/2005

Product Details

  • 6.375 x 9.25.
  • 512pp.
  • 14 drawings, 2 tables, 2 maps.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2002
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06801-2

Add to Cart
  • $44.95 U.S.