Why we do it

The initiative for a “Legal Ethics Code” by the Liquid Legal Institute e.V. is fueled by the recognition that the legal ecosystem, encompassing entities such as law firms, legal departments, courts, administrative authorities, and the legislator, is undergoing a transformative phase propelled by digitalization. In response to this evolution, the Institute has published a pioneering discussion paper outlining standards for responsible conduct in the context of the digitalization and transformation of the legal landscape. While digitalization holds the promise of enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the legal ecosystem and fostering greater access to justice for citizens, it also introduces risks and uncertainties. The initiative aims to maximize the benefits emerging from digitalization while mitigating potential risks by encapsulating appropriate ethical principles within a comprehensive code of conduct—the “Legal Ethics Code.” This code is envisioned to guide all individuals operating within the legal sphere, ensuring that ethical considerations are integral to the evolving landscape of digitalized law.

Jens Wagner

How we do it

The formulation and publication of the “Legal Ethics Code” discussion paper by the Liquid Legal Institute e.V. mark a proactive approach to navigating the challenges and opportunities presented by the ongoing digitalization and transformation of the legal ecosystem. The initiative recognizes that digitalization, the integration of artificial intelligence, and shifting values and methodologies are driving a historic upheaval in the field of law over the medium and long term.

To guide this transformation responsibly, the Code emphasizes the importance of a basic ethical canon. Kai Jacob, Chairman of the Board of the Liquid Legal Institute e.V., underscores the significance of having a broad adoption of this ethical foundation. By encouraging adherence to a shared ethical framework, the initiative aims to steer the development of the legal ecosystem toward an economically and socially responsible future.

The drafted principles of conduct take up the following aspects:

  • The welfare of people and society;
  • diversity and inclusion, physical and mental health;
  • responsible use of artificial intelligence;
  • ecological, social, and governance sustainability;
  • collaboration, interoperability, and interdisciplinarity;
  • openness to progress and innovation; and
  • promoting the acceptance of the law.

The published principles serve as a basis for discussion. They will initially be developed further within a project of the Liquid Legal Institute e.V., in which all members can participate, and specified on the basis of case studies and explanations. The result of this internal process will then be put up for public discussion within the framework of a consultation and accompanied by a social dialogue. The results of this discussion will be taken into account in the final “Legal Ethics Code” with the aim of achieving the greatest possible acceptance of the code of conduct.

The “Legal Ethics Code” is not intended to replace the existing codes of conduct of individual professions. Rather, it wants to supplement them and establish principles of conduct that can apply equally to everyone working in the legal field, regardless of the individual profession and jurisdiction.