f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

March 17, 2004

Justice O’Connor Sitting In (Sorta)

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:28 pm

Who needs ethicalEsq, when we’ve got Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor saying all the right things about the condition of lawyers and lawyering in America today?  Justice O’Connor’s address to an audience at U. Wyoming School of Law is covered in an article in today’s Casper, WY, Star-Tribune (“O’Connor: Lawyers ‘unhappy lot’,” 03-17-04; thanks to Howard for the pointer.).


Here are a few telling excerpts from the article:



wrong way neg  “Job dissatisfaction among lawyers is widespread, profound and growing worse. . . I think the decline of professionalism is partly responsible for this state of things,” O’Connor said.


 “Lawyers have to do more than know the law and the arts of practicing it,” the justice said. “A great lawyer always remembers the moral and social aspects of an attorney’s power and position.”


“It has been said that a nation’s laws are an expression of its highest ideals,” said O’Connor, “while the conduct of some lawyers in the United States has sometimes been an expression of its lowest.”


 “A win-at-all costs mentality sometimes prevails,” she said. “Many attorneys believe that zealously representing their client means pushing all the rules of ethics and decency to the limit.”


Now, if we could just get the Justice to take over this weblog.   I wonder if she likes haiku?

4 Comments

  1. David: You should be pleased to know that there are people out there trying to remedy these problems. Yesterday, I was an attendee at an all-day seminar on advocacy put on for young lawyers by a local litigation firm. The overriding theme of the day was professionalism, professionalism, professionalism. It was very refreshing, and a good step towards turning the tide of lousy conduct between lawyers. You can see an outline of the program here: http://www.grayrittergraham.com/CM/ContactUs/489901.PDF

    Comment by Dave — March 20, 2004 @ 1:18 pm

  2. David: You should be pleased to know that there are people out there trying to remedy these problems. Yesterday, I was an attendee at an all-day seminar on advocacy put on for young lawyers by a local litigation firm. The overriding theme of the day was professionalism, professionalism, professionalism. It was very refreshing, and a good step towards turning the tide of lousy conduct between lawyers. You can see an outline of the program here: http://www.grayrittergraham.com/CM/ContactUs/489901.PDF

    Comment by Dave — March 20, 2004 @ 1:18 pm

  3. The seminar was mostly about an attorney’s relationship with other lawyers and the court (e.g., things a young lawyer can do to establish integrity and credibility). That said, there was a great session in the afternoon about “How to Obtain and Retain the Enthusiastically Satisfied Client.” Some highlights that might interest you include:

    “Take the initiative and talk about fee arrangements early — most clients and too many lawyers are afraid to talk about fees.”

    “Explain, in an understandable language, how the legal process will work so as to minimize the likelihood of surprises later.”

    “At the end of the client meeting, be sure that everything is clear and understood — make sure the client has no further questions.”

    “Follow up: Being ignored by the attorney after he/she accepts employment is teh biggest complaint of clients.”

    “Use your billing to create good client relations. Bills should be prompt and itemized. Avoid surprises in billings.”

    I think that a lawyer’s reputation for integrity, civility, honesty, and credibility definitely has an impact on the “moral and social aspects of an attorney’s power and position.” Public perception of lawyers might be considerably different if every lawyer maintains such a reputation.

    You may want to contact the firm and see if you can get a copy of the handout materials. You would likely find them very interesting.

    Comment by Dave — March 20, 2004 @ 2:53 pm

  4. The seminar was mostly about an attorney’s relationship with other lawyers and the court (e.g., things a young lawyer can do to establish integrity and credibility). That said, there was a great session in the afternoon about “How to Obtain and Retain the Enthusiastically Satisfied Client.” Some highlights that might interest you include:

    “Take the initiative and talk about fee arrangements early — most clients and too many lawyers are afraid to talk about fees.”

    “Explain, in an understandable language, how the legal process will work so as to minimize the likelihood of surprises later.”

    “At the end of the client meeting, be sure that everything is clear and understood — make sure the client has no further questions.”

    “Follow up: Being ignored by the attorney after he/she accepts employment is teh biggest complaint of clients.”

    “Use your billing to create good client relations. Bills should be prompt and itemized. Avoid surprises in billings.”

    I think that a lawyer’s reputation for integrity, civility, honesty, and credibility definitely has an impact on the “moral and social aspects of an attorney’s power and position.” Public perception of lawyers might be considerably different if every lawyer maintains such a reputation.

    You may want to contact the firm and see if you can get a copy of the handout materials. You would likely find them very interesting.

    Comment by Dave — March 20, 2004 @ 2:53 pm

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