Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Legal Ethics

Watching the public discourse from elite lawyers (#notallawyers of course) over the years, it's quite clear that the only operable legal ethic they believe in is "the right to collect as much fucking money as my clients will pay me without anyone, and I mean anyone, criticizing me for it."

There were about 17 pieces (slight exaggeration) in the New York Times about the Harvard Law guy who was losing his dorm nanny job because, among other things, some of the students did not think defending Harvey Weinstein was compatible with overseeing a university community environment. Elite opinion freaked out, because apparently if lawyers are EVER EVER EVER criticized for the clients they take, especially ones you can bill at $800 per hour, the entire legal system will collapse and then we will have fascism, perhaps led by Bernie Sanders.

And, sure, I get that every criminal defendant deserves a quality defense, and one shouldn't attack politicians who once defended obvious bad guys when they were young public defenders. But that's not at all the same thing as "maybe a guy on the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood shoudn't be defending George Tiller's murderer," which is more what the Harvard situation was like. Well, George Tiller's murderer if you could bill him for $800 per hour. Some things don't mix well! No big principles involved.

And this is a completely made up principle! A version of paragraph one, anyway.

A number of Democratic and Republican partners at Jones Day said that while some of their colleagues were grumbling about the Trump relationship, it was the firm’s obligation to continue representing long-term clients, even if individual lawyers disagreed with their politics or tactics.
No it isn't! You have obligations not to file frivolous law suits! You don't have to represent me in the future simply because you represented me in the past! If this is contractual, just give back the money! There's no ethical obligation here!!!