Deals of the Legal Profession

So to what extent do the professional codes regulating lawyer's aim to reconcile this conflict between common morality and the lawyer's role morality? In theory professional codes of conduct should attempt to accommodate society's generalised norms, such as truthfulness and honesty within the role that the profession fills. 65 Consequently, "the profession has drawn solace from duties to the court recognised by professional codes and they do constitute an important affirmation of the moral autonomy of advocates, and demand certain standards of integrity and responsibility.

"Nevertheless an analysis of the codes regulating solicitors in this country will elucidate that there has been a failure to give adequate guidance to solicitor's facing moral quandary. To its credit The Law Society has published a collection of rules and principles of conduct in The Guide to the Professional Conduct of Solicitors but prefers not to refer to this as a "Code of Conduct. " Three rules are identified by Boon which may be highly relevant in offering some guidance. 67 Principle 12. 09 which conveys that "solicitors should not act merely to gratify a client's malice or vindictiveness".

Hence, at least in theory "conflicts between assumed client preferences and behaviour must be resolved on general ethical principles found in common morality. "68 Secondly, Principle 20. 01 in the Solicitors Guide which states: "a solicitor must act towards other solicitors with frankness and good faith consistent with his or her overriding duty to his client. " Boon conveys that good faith is an intangible and abstract quality with no technical meaning or statutory definition but it does encompass an honest belief and an absence of design to seek an unconscionable advantage.

Nonetheless this guideline may be more confusing then helpful as Boon notes "how can the duty of frankness and good faith that fall within the boundaries of common morality and also fall within the boundaries of role morality qualified by the overriding interest of the client? "69 Moving on to the other guideline which may relevant in this context. Principle 18. 01 which states: "Solicitors must not act, whether in their professional capacity, towards anyone in a way which is fraudulent, deceitful or otherwise contrary to their position as solicitors.

Nor must solicitor's use their position as solicitors to take unfair undadvatage either for themselves or another person. " One need only look at the remarks delineated earlier of the solicitor's attitudes in Boon's study in relation to bargain strategies in personal injury litigation to gain an insight into the seriousness with which this code is taken. It is credible to suggest that there has been a lack of coherent guidance for solicitors and the paltry guidance which is given is treated with disdainful respect.

"If ethics are to play an increasing role in the education of lawyers intending practitioners will need more detailed guidance than can be provided by broad principles of conduct. "70 Therefore to conclude, it would appear that the standard conception of the lawyer's role promoted under the adversary system, to gain the best possible result for the client by whatever means, requires lawyer's to deviate from common perceptions of morality. From this perspective the lawyer is perceived as "an all purpose, surrogate villain, doing everybody's dirty work-obstructing, perverting, distorting, blocking the high road to justice.

Recent jurisprudence has aimed to challenge this standard conception of the lawyer's role but in my view it has failed to take into account the intrinsically advantageous nature of adversarial advocacy. Taken from this vista the lawyer serving a client through zealous advocacy is engaged in a intrinsic moral good. Perhaps this phenomenon is best depicted by Charles Fried who thinks of the lawyer as a "special purpose friend" who shows devotion to his client.

This is true even when "the lawyer's "friendship" consists in assisting the profiteering slumlord to evict an indigent tenant or enabling the wealthy debtor to run the statute of limitations to avoid an honest debt to an old (and less well -off ) friend. "73 This is justified as lavishing care on our friends even at the expense of "abstract others" is morally praiseworthy and once we swallow the notion of the lawyer as a special friend we are home free with the intrinsic moral worth of the lawyer-client relation.

 Although Fried's analysis is not exhaustive (even Fried concedes that there are various circumstances where the lawyer should not pursue this insurmountable devotion to the client) it is my view that this perception of the lawyer as "a special friend" devoted to their client as opposed to the image of the surrogate mercenary villain should be the essential starting point in any discussion concerning the lawyer's morality.

Bibliography: (a) Publications: 1. G. C. Hazard: Ethics in the Practice of Law [1978]: Yale University Press 2. A. Kronman: The Lost Lawyer-Failing Ideals of the Legal Profession [1993] Belknap Press 3. M. W. Martin: Meaningful Work: Rethinking Professional Ethics [2000]: Oxford UP