HuffPo: White supremacists shouldn’t be allowed to practice law

I won’t impugn HuffPo too much today, as it’s busy, as always, impugning itself. Just have a look at this recent article and then guess what the answer is. (Click on the screenshot to go there after you’ve guessed.)

Author Jessica Schulberg, who has a master’s degree in international politics from American University and reports on foreign policy and national security for HuffPo, has done her Regressive homework, identifying “over a dozen current and former lawyers openly affiliated with white supremacist groups.”  Her argument is that such lawyers shouldn’t be allowed to practice because ” [they hold] a position of power and responsibility — one that is supposed to come with a promise that the holder is of good character and respects the rights and liberties of others.” Here’s the gist of her argument:

Because of all this, the legal profession is one of the few that requires members to uphold a certain moral standard. In addition to taking the bar exam, aspiring attorneys face a character and fitness test before they can be admitted to their state’s bar and practice law. Lawyers can — in theory — get kicked out of the profession at any time for failing to uphold their state bar association’s ethics rules.

The initial character and fitness test is generally treated as a formality, the requirements vary by state, and enforcement can seem ad hoc. But there are individuals who fail. People have been denied bar admission because of a past gambling problem, delinquent debt, a substance abuse issue or dishonesty. Stephen Glass, a former New Republic reporter who had fabricated characters, quotes and events in more than two dozen stories he wrote for the magazine in the 1990s, was warned off by the New York bar and later rejected outright by the California bar.

Defining moral character is an admittedly subjective endeavor — but marching with neo-Nazis would seem to signal character flaws.

Well, what’s a character flaw to Schulberg and her ilk might be considered a lawful difference in opinion to others. What about if, on religious grounds, a lawyer doesn’t think gays should marry or serve in the Army? That could be considered bigotry, too (and it is), but should homophobic lawyers be disbarred? What about those who don’t believe that trans women are really “women”? And what about those who are anti-Semitic in socially acceptable ways, like many who feel that Israel has no right to exist and should be wiped off the map?  Indeed, Schulberg suggests that all of these bigots have no right to be lawyers, for they disrespect the Constitution:

What can be lost in the debate about white supremacists’ rights are the rights of their victims. In particular, Valdes pointed to the 14th Amendment, which guarantees every person within the United States “the equal protection of the laws.”

“The 14th Amendment is not some special interests amendment for women and people of color and the LGBT community — it’s equal to the First Amendment. So you have to figure out what the balance is,” Valdes said.

Well, one could say that many recent members of the Supreme Court should be disbarred for the same reason: they haven’t respected the Constitution. And, in fact, the rights of the victims of bigotry are protected under law, though perhaps not so vigorously by lawyers who are bigots themselves.

In all of the examples I gave above, people hold beliefs that some people are unequal under the law and thus the lawyers don’t “respect the rights and liberties of others”—a criterion that, according to Schulberg, mandates disbarment. Where does the delineation of “character flaws” stop? And who is to make that judgment? Once someone sets themselves up as a judge of who has a good “character”—and it’s clear here that “good character” means “conforming to my ideology”—there is no end of the mischief that can be done.

Bar associations have drawn the line at a place I consider appropriate: lawyers who engage in illegal conduct, or who are convicted of some crimes, or through impairment are palpably unfit to practice, should be disbarred. If we start throwing qualified people out of professions for what we see as odious beliefs, even if their public or professional actions don’t violate the law, then we are indeed in trouble. But that’s precisely what the Authoritarian Left seeks to do.

In the end, I agree with First Amendment lawyer Ken White (who writes at the legal site Popehat), quoted in the article saying this:

“I don’t think it should be the state bar’s job to police people for being racists or other assholes.”. . . “If white supremacists are doing objectionable stuff, you should be able to find them in violation of the rules [of professional conduct].”

67 Comments

  1. Craw
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Lawyers opposed to sharia should be disbarred. Opposition to god’s word “would seem to signal character flaws”.

    • Walt Jones
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Not to mention an atheist.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    If you cut down every law in the land to go after the Devil, you’ve got nowhere to hide when the Devil turns round on you (as the Sir Thomas More of stage and screen sorta said).

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      The film of “Man For All Seasons” was directed by Fred Zinnemann who also directed the great anti-McCarthy allegory “High Noon”.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        the great anti-McCarthy allegory “High Noon”

        OK. So now I’ve got to re-watch High Noon through McCarthy-coloured glasses. I can see where you’re coming from, but I’d never thought in those terms before.
        Not that I’m complaining about re-watching High Noon.

      • colnago80
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        One of the screen writers for High Noon was Carl Foreman who was blacklisted shortly after completing his assignment on the film.

        Foreman was later hired by actor Kirk Douglas and director Otto Preminger for the movie Exodus, which hiring broke the blacklist.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted January 2, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          It was “Hollywood Ten” writer Dalton Trumbo (the author of the great anti-war novel Johnny Got His Gun) who broke the blacklist. He’s the one Kirk Douglas hired for Spartacus, and Otto Preminger hired for Exodus.

        • colnago80
          Posted January 2, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          Correction: Dalton Trumbo was the screenwriter for Exodus. He, like Foreman had been blacklisted.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    One would think that a Lawyer might simply explain to Huff that disbarment or refusing to licence an attorney for being a bigot would never make it in court.

    • Nicholas K.
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      But that is exactly what happened to Matthew Hale in Illinois. His license denial on grounds of character and fitness was upheld in Federal court.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        And Bristow was admitted in Ohio and Michigan. Maybe you have to stay out of Illinois? What was it the guy said long ago. It’s a court of law, not justice.

  4. Graham Head
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    “master’s degree in international politics”

    Just from the title I knew it wouldn’t be a degree in law.

  5. Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think there’s any such thing as a political purity test for being accepted to the bar in the US.

    That is what she is proposing.

    • Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      What she seems to be overlooking is that, if there were to be new laws in this regard, they’d be written by … Trump and his cronies.

  6. Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Excellent, Tocqueville becomes more solidly correct in his summation daily.

  7. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    The probability that a white supremacist lawyer will do something concretely unethical seems to be relatively high, but until they actually do that….

  8. Mark R.
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    “And, in fact, the rights of the victims of bigotry are protected under law, though perhaps not so vigorously by lawyers who are bigots themselves.”

    I don’t think this is true for every state. I know Georgia’s Supreme court struck down their hate crime statute in 2004. Other states (Wyoming, Arkansas, S. Carolina) don’t have statutes criminalizing hate crimes either. Some cities within those states do (or try to) uphold hate-crime statutes.

    Perhaps you were generalizing and I’m being too pedantic.

    • BJ
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Victims of hate crimes are still protected under the law, regardless of whether an extra penalty is levied because the crime was rooted in bigotry. If someone assaults you out of bigotry, they’re still guilty of assault; if someone spray-paints a synagogue out of antisemitism, they’re still guilty of defacing private property. All hate crime laws do is tack on an extra penalty, and I don’t see why they’re necessary, nor any reason for such laws to be considered a prerequisite for victims of bigotry to have equal treatment under the law.

      In fact, I would say hate crime laws make victims of bigotry more important than other victims under the law, as their victimizers receive greater sentences.

      I’m not necessarily arguing against having crime crime laws; I’m just noting that they’re not required for victims of bigotry to enjoy equal protection.

      • mikeyc
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        “….if someone spray-paints a synagogue out of antisemitism, they’re still guilty of defacing private property.”

        An aside – this is actually one of those exceptions I note below. If you spray paint swastikas on a synagogue or burn a cross on a black person’s yard- the charge may not be vandalism. There are narrowly crafted statutes that go beyond vandalism which cover these (usually a kind of criminal harassment or intimidation). For almost all other crimes -including violent ones- the hate crime statute is a sentencing guideline. But there are exceptions and this is one of them.

        • BJ
          Posted January 2, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, you’re right, and that’s on good exception. Thank you for pointing out my mistake.

      • Craw
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        The killers of Matthew Shepherd were sentenced to death, in the absence of a hate crime law. Yet I hear this case touted as an example of why we need such laws. What I wonder do we need to add? Not just death but torture? Breaking on the wheel? Slow impalement? A thousand cuts?

        • mikeyc
          Posted January 2, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          Actually neither of Shepard’s killers were sentenced to death.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted January 2, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, one pled out before trial to a life sentence. The other was convicted during the guilt-phase, but Shepard’s parents agreed to a deal to give him life before the penalty-phase of the trial commenced.

          • Craw
            Posted January 2, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

            I see you are correct.

        • Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          Moreover, it is questioned that the murder was motivated by hate (I mean, hate in the sense of “hate crime”).

  9. mikeyc
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Georgia SC struck down their hate crime law because the law wasn’t crafted well – it was vague as to who are in the protected classes.

    Incidentally “hate crimes” are not normally* themselves crimes – that would run afoul of the 1st amendment. More specifically, so-called “hate crimes” in the U.S. are aggravating factors at sentencing, that is the hate itself is not prosecuted but the judge can impose a stiffer sentence if the accused is found to be motivated by hate and the victim is a member of a protected class.

    *there are exceptions but as usual they prove the rule.

    • mikeyc
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      oops meant in reply to Mark R above

    • Posted January 3, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      “Prove” in this context means “test”, not “establish”.

  10. Nicholas K.
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Here in Illinois, white supremacist Matt Hale had his application for a license to practice law denied by the Illinois Bar Committee on the grounds of character and fitness. The objectionable aspect of his character being that he was a white supremacist. He sued and lost. He is in prison now, as he tried to hire a hit man to kill the judge who ruled against him.

    So, at least some state Bars agree that being a Nazi makes a person unfit to practice law. Hale was an outspoken white supremacist but had graduated law school, passed the bar exam, and had no criminal convictions.

  11. Kelly
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    The regressive ideology in the field of law (and many places) here in Canada is concerning. Lawyers now have to sign a statement of principles obligating them to promote “equality, diversity and inclusion”. Fortunately, it is being challenged.
    http://nationalpost.com/opinion/bruce-pardy-law-societys-new-policy-compels-speech-crossing-line-that-must-not-be-crossed

    https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/10/23/lawyers-challenging-part-of-law-society-of-upper-canada-plan-to-address-racism.html

    • pck
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      How dreadful. What’s next, asking doctors to do no harm?

      • mikeyc
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        In what way is promoting “equality, diversity and inclusion” fundamental to the practice of law the same as “do no harm” is to medicine?

        • pck
          Posted January 2, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          It might be too much to ask lawyers to do no harm but promoting these values is a progressive step in the right direction, and certainly nothing to get upset about.

          • Craw
            Posted January 2, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

            So, in no way. You just think people should be forced to pledge allegiance to platitudes in order to be allowed to work.

            • pck
              Posted January 2, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

              Again, how dreadful is that, especially since the “platitudes” correspond to unambiguosly positive values.

              • BJ
                Posted January 2, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

                What is dreadful is trying to force people to espouse your personal politics in order to practice law. I don’t care what the political position is or that it’s not dreadful.

                And what does inclusion and diversity mean? Does it mean that if a person expresses the opinion that 50/50 gender splits in STEM are neither necessary nor even a wise goal to pursue, they are running afoul of their obligation to promote diversity? Does it mean that, if they don’t believe right-of-regressive-left speakers should be deplatformed on college campuses, they’re not being inclusive? What, exactly, is one allowed (and not allowed) to do or express under these unbelievably vague terms of promoting “equality, diversity, and inclusion,” terms that have been applied to everything from affirmative action, to scholarships for certain groups, to the philosophy of safe spaces, to deplatforming speakers on campuses?

                Yes, it is dreadful. Not only are you advocating people be forced to promote certain political opinions (your opinions, of course) in order to be admitted into a profession, you’re also using terms so vague they can be used to justify barring just about anyone who doesn’t toe a certain line of thought.

              • Craw
                Posted January 2, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

                More than anything else you are demanding the right, and the power, to impose your will. You might start with platitudes but you won’t end with them.

          • mikeyc
            Posted January 2, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

            But they aren’t suggesting that lawyers ought to promote “equality, diversity and inclusion”, they want to require it.

            What if you’re and lawyer and your idea of what constitutes “equality, diversity and inclusion” differs from the government’s?

            You think you might get upset about that?

            • pck
              Posted January 2, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

              Clearly, I might even compare it to the oppressive regime in North Korea, to the amusement of many. Here’s the thing: Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion is very good, and can be done very easily at no cost to yourself and to great benefit of society as a whole.

              • mikeyc
                Posted January 2, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

                That’s where you’re wrong and why we’ll never agree on this. There IS a cost. There always is when one compels thought in others.

              • BJ
                Posted January 2, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

                pck doesn’t just want thought to be compelled, mikeyc; he/she wants political action to be compelled.

              • mikeyc
                Posted January 2, 2018 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

                “pck doesn’t just want thought to be compelled, mikeyc; he/she wants political action to be compelled.”

                A distinction without a difference.

              • Craw
                Posted January 2, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

                Promoting ‘diversity’ means promoting pederasty, nazism, bestiality, and racism since those are all examples of diversity in sexuality, politics, and attitudes. I don’t see that as ‘unambiguously positive’.

                What? That’s not what you meant?

                Ohhhh. So we also need someone to interpret and enforce these platitudes?
                Let me guess who.

              • Simon
                Posted January 3, 2018 at 5:20 am | Permalink

                I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you don’t know how deeply the feminists have their hooks into the Canadian legal system or how far they have gone in eroding the rights of the accused. Judges are being indoctrinated with pseudoscience which benefits accusers in sex crime cases. They are being encouraged to disallow exculpatory evidence, particularly from social media and moves are afoot to give accusers access to defense evidence which will enable false accusers to iron out glaring inconsistincies in their stories. And that is not a small issue because in many cases the only way for the accused to prove their innocence is to catch the accuser in lies.

                I think you will find that the equality, diversity and inclusion here are not what any reasonable person will think of as such. They are the Social Justice versions of those things.

            • Filippo
              Posted January 4, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

              ” . . . differs from the government’s?”

              And also from that of some corporate business tyranny/tyrant, eh? (Re: the likes of noble businessman Trump or Weinstein or burger mogul Andrew Puzder, once Trump’s pick for secretary of labor.)

          • Michiel
            Posted January 3, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

            Forcing people to promote something that they may not believe in and that has no particular bearing on their profession is “not something to get upset about”? Limiting the profession of lawyer to be open only to “progressives” is nothing to get upset about?
            The fact that “equality, diversity, and inclusion” is pretty much undefined is nothing to get upset about?
            I have to disagree.
            I think you are being dangerously naive if you think something like this is ok. And just because you think promoting this is “a step in the right direction”, it does not mean that you should be allowed to force anyone else to believe it too. It is, in fact, profoundly ANTI-diversity. But of course the diversity that is implied is diversity of skin color and gender(-expression), not diversity of opinion.
            There was an interesting talk on Youtube where Jordan Peterson discusses this subject at length with a lawyer and law professor:

            • pck
              Posted January 3, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

              Huh, somehow can’t reply to most people further up, sorry about that.

              I do undersand the general criticism that this is very vague, but that seems to be by design to make people think about it themselves. The measure as a whole is clearly meant to combat a specific issue (systemic racism), and this statement is just part of that, so I don’t see how this can be misconstructed as promoting racism.

              I’m quoting the second article here: “Our focus is on raising awareness and achieving the culture shift the working group recommended, which is make people aware of the challenges faced by racialized licensees in getting jobs and advancing in jobs. Our aim is simply to educate and raise awareness, we didn’t bring this in to penalize.”

              • BJ
                Posted January 3, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

                1. Laws do not work based on what you or anyone else thinks is clear about them, or what anyone says they think is the intent behind them. They work by the letter. Whether or not you think the intentions behind them are good or that the vague wording will not be extended to things you believe to be unreasonable has no relevance.

                2. Even if the law is used only in the manner you see fit, you continue to use terms like “promoting racism,” and such terms remain conspicuously undefined. Is racism opposing affirmative action policies? Is it refusing to support the deplatforming of conservative speakers? Is it refusing supporting “safe space” philosophy? Is it being in favor of stricter immigration controls? Is it advocating against Canada’s move in the direction of greater and greater restrictions on speech via hate speech laws and philosophy? All of these entirely legitimate policy positions have been repeatedly called racist by many of the same people who support this new standard for lawyers. What about sexism? Is it sexist to not support diversity quotas in professions that have a greater number of men than women? I can go on and on. What policies and opinions can one express/support without being deemed to have run afoul of the demand to promote “equality, diversity, and inclusion”?

                3. You also have not addressed the fact that you and others who support this standard are forcing your personal political ideology on others as a way to bar those who disagree from a profession, and the dangerous and authoritarian precedent it sets.

              • Michiel van Haren
                Posted January 3, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

                So it is meant to combat the issue of “systemic racism” in the law profession in Canada (on of the most liberal and egalitarian countries on the planet I might add) but they have not proven that systemic racism exists in the first place.
                This measure thus puts the burden on lawyers and lawfirms to first basically plead guilty to “systemic racism” that you just tak for granted exists apparently. It also includes mandatory unconcious bias training which is completely unproven and unscientific.
                And failing to sign up for this can be cause to disbar you so the claim that the aim is “simply to educate and raise awareness, not to penalize” is just horse crap, pardon my French. You don’t force people to sign onto an ideological pledge with the threat of them losing their ability to practice their job if you “just want to educate”.
                Would you subject to something like this personally? Really? I sure wouldn’t. I know the intentions sound noble but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The government of a free, liberaly society should not be able to force anyone to sign onto any sort of ideological pledge, period. It’s authoritarian and profoundly dangerous.

              • pck
                Posted January 4, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

                Replying to myself because once again I can’t reply to the people below, my apologies. Am I doing something wrong?

                BJ, I agree with you on point 1, and with your general point that it would be helpful to more clearly define terms – laws generally tend to be clearly defined. However, as I understand, we are not talking about an actual law, but more like something of an essay prompt as part of a greater effort to combat systemic racism – making people aware of the issue essentially.
                2. For sake of space let’s discuss this some other time, especially since there’s not a simple yes/no answer to most questions – context matters.
                3. My apologies, I can not see anywhere in the article how this is bars anyone from the profession.

                Michiel – Yes systemic racism exists, and no it doesn’t mean that you are a racist so there’s no need to be offended. Again, please point me to where it says that people will be prevented from becoming a lawyer by refusing to comply. Also yes I’d have absolutely no problem with that – I like writing. If any lawyer doesn’t, whipping up a generic diversity statement inspired by a quick google search seems like a 5 minute task.
                Certainly nothing to be this upset about.

  12. Craw
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Twitter osculates a faith — guess which — by banning a cartoonist but not those threatening to kill him.

    https://pjmedia.com/trending/twitter-suspends-mohammad-cartoonist-bosch-fawstin/

    • nicky
      Posted January 3, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      That is exactly the problem here: it is difficult to oppose the suspending of Mr Faustin without being thrown onyo the same dungheap as Mr Wilders. I take exception to many, if not most of his ideas, but here I’m forced to admit he’s right. It is unconscionable to suspend an account of an ex-Muslim cartoonist because of ‘offense’.
      And of course, we never get to see the ‘offensive’ cartoon.

      • Filippo
        Posted January 4, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Here it’s a private corporate tyranny, not a government, imposing itself. Western societies, as revealed in their laws, tolerate actions by private tyrannies they would not tolerate by governments (both of which run by flesh-and-blood human primates).

  13. George
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Remember the case of George Anastaplo. He refused to answer the question “are you a communist” back in 1950 and the Illinois Bar turned him away. He was not a communist but did not think that being one was disqualifying.
    https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/one-door-closes

  14. netbuoy
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Apparently Ms. Schulberg has never reviewed what “character and fitness” means vis-a-vis entry to the Bar. The ABA standards, while not dispositive (each jurisdiction sets their own standards), are demonstrative of her confusion:

    “Standard of Character and Fitness. A lawyer should be one whose record of conduct justifies the trust of clients, adversaries, courts, and others with respect to the professional duties owed to them. A record manifesting a significant deficiency in the honesty, trustworthiness, diligence, or reliability of an applicant may constitute a
    basis for denial of admission.”

  15. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Ok, so I have surprised myself by being persuaded by the argument that there should be no means to prevent someone from earning a law degree even if they hold personal views that people are unequal. As revolting as that view is to me.
    But are legal firms allowed to refuse to hire them?

    • Michiel
      Posted January 3, 2018 at 6:04 am | Permalink

      I don’t believe anyone, anywhere is (as of yet) mandated to hire anyone (or obliged to provide specific reasons for not hiring someone).
      At least I hope so! That would make for some interesting court cases otherwise.

      • Posted January 3, 2018 at 7:04 am | Permalink

        Indeed. A big part of an interview (face to face interview) is to “feel out” whether this person will fit into your organization based on temperament, social milieu (of the organization), and just basic monkey butt-sniffing.

        No one, ever, should be able to force you to hire a particular individual whom you don’t like.

  16. eric
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Disbar every lawyer who is unethical, and we couldn’t even find someone to write out a will…just kidding, cheap lawyer joke.

    I agree with Jerry. However my family has been on the bad side of incompetent lawyers, so let’s not pretend a hands-off approach is without cost. It is easy for a lawyer to hide a complete lack of effort on behalf of a client, if that’s what they want to do. A racist lawyer could easily take a client with the express purpose of essentially sabotaging their case through lack of effort. Or give them bad counsel on a plea bargain, or simply just give the prosecutor everything they ask for in terms of a plea bargain instead of attempting any serious negotiation. If the accused is poor, it’s even more likely to succeed because that person is unlikely to have the knowledge or resources needed to fire their first lawyer and get another.

    Is there a cure to this? IMO not worse than the disease. That’s why I agree with Jerry. But because I respect the hands-off approach, I also understand that there is a huge ‘caveat emptor’ involved in hiring a lawyer. Shop around. Look into backgrounds. Make sure you aren’t the metaphorical or literal minority who picks the racist sexist C-grade law school graduate out of the phone book by accident. Because they are out there.(Sorry to end melodramatically. Maybe I should add “…Dun Don DUN!!!”)

    • Posted January 3, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      A racist lawyer could easily take a client with the express purpose of essentially sabotaging their case through lack of effort. Or give them bad counsel on a plea bargain

      Might not the same be said for a “progressive” lawyer defending a white supremacist? Or is it OK to deny white supremacists competent legal representation?

      The correct answer is to disbar lawyers for malpractice not for privately held views.

  17. nicky
    Posted January 3, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    We have a corny joke here in South Africa: You are in a bushy savanna, On your left you see a hungry lion approaching, in front of you stands a SA’n lawyer on the path and on the right a clearly irate black mamba is approaching fast. You check your gun and see you have only 2 bullets left. What do you do?

    (don’t read yet, just think what you would do)

    You shoot the lawyer. Twice, just to make sure you got him.

    [Disclaimer: no, I’m not advocating shooting lawyers, just an illustration of the esteem they are held in here.]


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