You know this got my attention, with all the bitching I hear (and do!) about awful lawyers! 🙂
I continue to call for state Bar Associations to disbar all lawyers (including those in politics – can you say: Lindsey Graham?!) who blatantly LIE to courts or to Congress or to the public!
Excerpts from the Article:
My Great Uncle Dave was kind enough to move my admission into the bar of the United States Supreme Court. Uncle Dave was my idea of a lawyer growing up. He was the kind of guy who would wear a three-piece suit to mow the lawn, because he believed he was a lawyer all the time, not just when he was in court or sitting in his corner office at Broad Street in Newark.
Uncle Dave “hired” me to “clerk” for him while I was still in college so I could see what lawyers did, who lawyers were. I wasn’t really a clerk, but the kid who fetched coffee for the lawyers in his office, sat in the library (that was a place where he kept all the law books) and looked up things for him and, mostly, listened to him as he explained why he did what he did.
He taught me about zealous representation. He taught me about the virtue of hard work. He taught me about honor and integrity. Uncle Dave would fight right up to the line of propriety, but he would never cross it. This wasn’t because he feared being disbarred. This was because he believed that honor mattered.
Lawyers have not had a good run over the past few years. Lawyers in the service of Trump have been disgraceful, often outrageously dishonorable. Between Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, one might get the impression that being a lawyer and mental health are incompatible. As for former Attorney General Bill Barr, there’s no explanation, even if he finally reached a line he wouldn’t cross with the rigged election scam.
Lawyers in the service against Trump haven’t been a lot better, whether throwing Molotov cocktails at police cars or manufacturing TrumpLaw, gross distortions of law to condemn Trump’s bad, but not necessarily unlawful, actions. And as the Trump impeachment defense team twists law its way, others twist it the other way.
Watching the news, Dr. SJ often turned to me and asked, “Can they do that? Can they say that?” Lawyers aren’t supposed to lie to courts. Lawyers aren’t supposed to bring frivolous litigation. She’s thinks lawyers are supposed to be honorable. I may have given her the wrong impression. No, they can’t do that, and yes, they can and do, all the time.
The appalling conduct of the lawyers at the highest levels of government who behaved so shamelessly in seeking to maintain Trump in office was not an aberration, but a continuation. Throughout Trump’s presidency, lawyers were centrally involved in perpetuating some of its most repugnant excesses.
Just as the president, members of Congress, and insurrectionists must be held accountable for their actions, the legal profession must urgently take collective stock of why so many prominent legal institutions and leaders were embroiled in supporting one of the most corrupt and destructive presidencies in our history.
This is the lead in to her point, that we should create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as was done in South Africa for apartheid, for lawyers who supported this “corrupt and destructive” regime.
This begins with a recognition that in a world in which raw power has come to transcend the unspoken code of civility and integrity among political lawyers, more is needed than the mere expectation that lawyers in government will behave honorably.
Dick the Butcher would support this idea, rid us of those lawyers who would defend the side we hate, and then there will be no one to oppose us. Yes, we need to be far more honorable in refusing to cross the line, and it needs to be enforced. No, it is not dishonorable to be the lawyer for those clients and ideas deemed unworthy in the eyes of Ifill’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Maybe we were never all that honorable as a profession, but only as to those individual lawyers who believed that honor was their personal duty.