Document Type


Publication Title

Business Lawyer

Publication Date



This Article reports the results of an empirical study of whether and how in-house corporate counsel advise corporate officers about fiduciary duties. The fiduciary duties of officers long have been neglected by courts, scholars, and lawyers, as the Introduction explains, even though executives play a central role in corporate success and failure. The study’s findings, organized by type of company (public or private), size, and attorney position within the firm, show several interesting patterns in advice-giving practices. For example, fewer than half of all respondents provided advice to officers below the senior-most rank. The results raise the possibility that, unlike directors who may overestimate their liability exposure, certain shortcomings in giving advice to officers may cause them to underestimate personal liability exposure and engage in more risky behavior than is desirable for the company itself. The Article also offers recommendations for improved practices in advising officers about their duties.


“This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.”



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.