Here is his latest volley (which was quite witty, especially the part about how I verbally brutalized him in my post.).
Here is one except that I want to respond to in particular…
- . . . What is moral, indeed, is the practice of whatever kind of law you decide to do consonant with the highest standards of ethics. I personally would argue that in the context of market defined liberty, working to faciliate the coercive brutality of the federal income tax system is by far morally inferior to helping two businesses work together, or to providing a corporation with the due process they are guaranteed by our system.
In other words, I make no claim that being a lawyer= being a capitalist, as JMB posits that I do. Rather, my formulation is that if you are a capitalist, you can be a good lawyer. I don’t think JMB agrees, but that’s a disagreement about the shape of society as a whole.
Phrased this way, I would have to say I agree with him to a point, and to a point my earlier post was not right.
In my earlier post, I said that there are basically two kinds of lawyers, those who fight for the little guy and those who are there to make the big bucks and oppress the common man.
But, my analysis is not accurate and is unfair. A good corporate lawyer is not an oxymoron. I would argue that such a lawyer has a harder row to hoe if he/she wants to keep his morals on straight, but it is do-able; and certainly there is a good to be served in society to providing businesses legal services. W.T. is right in saying that it can be moral to practice in any area (even corporate law) if one does it in a way that is “consonant with the highest standards of ethics.”
So, let me rephrase my earlier statements.
There are three kinds of lawyers in this world…
1. Bad lawyers who break the rules, be they those enshrined in the the law itself (statute, professional conduct codes, etc.) or just the norms of human decency. Thankfully most lawyers are not like this, but there are still way too many of them.
2. Ethical lawyers who play fair and follow ethical and moral standards, but whose focus is primarily on the bottom line. Nothing wrong with that as long as you don’t break the rules. Not sure what positive influence one can have in this way of doing law, but certainly one does contribute to keeping the legal system running smooth and helping ensure that all people (even rich scumbags) have equal acess to remedy of wrongs in the courts of law. — I think most lawyers fall in this camp.
3. Lawyers who fight for the little guy. I would describe them as being lawyers in the vein of Atticus Finch of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Most lawyers aren’t in camp #1 (and I shouldn’t have earlier collapsed camps #1 and 2 in my earlier diatribe), but neither are they in camp #3. As a result, most of the ethical honest lawyers in this world help those who can afford them, leaving the little guy without access to legal help. This is a tremendous problem and I wish more lawyers, law students and especially law schools (who jack up their tuition costs so high that you can’t afford to practice the best kind of law because of the massive debt loads inccured) would recognize this and do something about it.
BTW, back to the capitalist/non-capitalist debate. . . if you are true believer in capitalism, then be an ethical capitalist lawyer at least. That is possible, I suppose at least in a theoretical sense.