Lawyer Ethics &
This page follows up on the issues
of ethics and professional responsibility raised by the first two
readings in Part IV Criminal Justice Ethics.
Cartoon by Signe
Paul Haskell outlines a number of
situations - from helping clients break the law to inserting
illegal clauses in contracts - and explains the what sections of the
Professional Code of Conduct govern the situation. There's another
interesting scenario involving a manipulation of the legal process
by setting up a deposition appointment across town for an overworked
woman who must take the bus. When she does not show up, the
lawyer asks the court to dismiss her case, in which she lost her job
for making comments about substandard cleanliness at a health care
facility. (True story).
The second article, by Ted Schneyer, who
discusses philosophy's standard misconceptions of legal ethics. The
philosopher's standard conception focuses on partisanship (being a
'hired gun' willing to do what the client wants) and 'neutrality'
(taking clients who desire to achieve immoral ends, or taking
clients without regard to personal morality). Schneyer reviews
evidence from studies demonstrating that lawyers do not behave in
these ways as frequently as people think. They do not do whatever
the client wants, and frequently get the client to be more
reasonable (so the lawyer protects working relations and
reputation). There is little evidence lawyers take the cases of
clients with whom they disagree (and in many cases there are a
variety of principles at play - such as free speech in the case of
Nazis who want to hold a public demonstration). In the end, Schneyer
argues that the rules are not as unequivocal as the philosopher's
indictment indicates; they allow, but do not require, some of the
extreme behavior frequently criticized.
of Criminal Justice Statistics indicates that public
belief in the honesty and ethical standards of lawyers has declined in
the last 20 years, and people see the ethical standards of lawyers as
being about the same as labor union leaders, Congress members,
advertising practitioners, and insurance salespeople. Lawyers come out
slightly ahead of car salespeople (Tables 2.21 and 2.22).
Other scenarios from The Moral Compass: The
Special Privileges of Tobacco ~ Secret
Argument Against Reticence: critiquing an article
entitled "From 'Moral Stupidity' to Professional Responsibility"
Moral Philosophy for Lawyers: Can
Virtue Be Taught?
American Legal Ethics Library Cornell University based website – has a large collection
of documents centering on the law and lawyering, and the ethics involved in
Center for Professional Responsibility
Collection of rules, guidelines, and committees concerned
with attorney conduct and ethics construction.
Ethics and Professional Duty Findlaw’s directory of codes, regulations and cases on
ethics and professional responsibility, organized by state.
Legalethics.com Website set up to offer links and references to ethics
rules, regulations and articles.
Ethics and Reform Page
Ethics and Rules from LegalResourceLinks.com
lists legal and ethical resources that includes case
studies from DePaul University.
Development American Bar Association info
Jokes & Humor
| Why is it that New Jersey got all the toxic waste dumps and California got all the lawyers?
New Jersey had first choice
| A restaurant full of lawyers was held hostage. The bad guys threatened that, until all their demands were met, they would release one lawyer every hour.
| There’s an interesting new novel about two ex-convicts. One of them studies to become a lawyer, and the other decides to go straight.
|“When there are too many policemen, there can be no liberty;
When there are too many soldiers, there can be no peace;
When there are too many lawyers, there can be no justice.”
-- Lin Yutang
|What do lawyers and sperm have in common?
Only one in two million ever does anything worthwhile.
|What do you call a lawyer gone bad?
|“Personally, I don’t think you can make a lawyer honest by an act of legislature. You’ve got to work on his conscience. And his
lack of a conscience is what makes him a lawyer.”
-- Will Rogers
|A group of professional men had finished a day’s hunt and were relaxing around the fire. Their hunting dogs occupied a clearing
nearby. One of the men observed that it was remarkable how the dogs had acquired the traits of their owners.
The musician’s dog was softly howling strains of the Moonlight sonata. The engineer’s dog was using his paw to perform
calculations in the dust.
The lawyer’s dog was screwing all the rest.
|Q: What's the difference between a lawyer and a bucket of dung?
A: The bucket
|How do you know that it's REALLY cold out?
The lawyers have their hands in their own pockets.
jokes from Nolo.com