What Makes a Good Lawyer?

Published by marco on

From the article The Defense Crack by Scott H. Greenfield (Simple Justice)

“We defend anyone accused of a crime. We do not refuse representation because the defendant is too wealthy, his crime too awful, his skin color too pale or his genitals too stiff. We couldn’t care less that the woke have deemed him too guilty to be worthy. We do not judge. That’s for the jury to do. We defend.

“The notion that criminal defense lawyers should become the advanced guard of morality and justice is one that appeals to those for whom such vagaries protect their feelings from dispute. They can afford to take refuge in their preconceived outcomes, as it allows them to pretend their feelings are always justified. That’s fine, if that’s the way you want to live your life. Criminal defense lawyers, however, have chosen to live their lives in a way the puts the Constitution first, puts a duty to challenge the government and its complainants to prove their case first.”

A person is free to judge someone without a trial of evidence. It may not be morally tenable, but it’s neither illegal nor does it go against any oaths they’ve taken to upload the law.

A criminal-defense lawyer, on the other hand, has an obligation to provide a defense for a client. Their job is not to judge whether that person is guilty or innocent, but to make sure that their case is processed according to the law, that they get a fair trial during which it is determined whether they actually did what it is that they are accused of having done.

A lawyer is free to choose not to take a case because they feel the subject matter or the defendant is too odious. However, the system requires that someone take those cases. And it will not do to judge that person as “evil” for even trying to “defend” such a “criminal”. The accused’s criminality hasn’t even been established. How can it be bad to provide a defense for someone? Society cannot work this way, not in the long term.

I think the reason people feel that they can feel this way is that they no longer believe that the justice system is necessary to adjudicate cases. They already know who’s innocent and guilty and they already know the crimes. They are working with a fantasy world, a notion of society and law that runs parallel to the real-world one. Evidence is no longer a necessary component to conviction. Neither are trials. Media trial and hearsay from trusted sources—fellow travelers—are sufficient. “I believe survivors”.

Greenfield’s article was written in response to recent news that Harvard had capitulated to student demands that a professor of 30 years have his duties rescinded or drastically reduced because he was part of the legal-defense team for Harvey Weinstein. Given Weinstein’s obvious guilt and him being literally Hitler, such an association is inexcusable and does incalculable harm to psyches everywhere. These students are the next generation of lawyers, God help us.

Greenfield followed up with a little story about life on campus, called Seaton: Woke Teachers Wonder Where Things Went Wrong by Scott H. Greenfield (Simple Justice). A sampling of a discussion between professors of the near future:

Another [professor] looked nervously out a window before adding, “It would’ve been nice if we didn’t have to write a statement each year affirming diversity and inclusion in our classrooms. What the hell does diversity and inclusion have to do with physics?”

“How in the world is teaching Plato racist?” a worried voice cried from another corner of the room. “I try teaching the Allegory of the Cave, and I get shouted down because it doesn’t adequately depict the lived experiences of people of color? What the hell does that even mean?”

“And the pronoun nonsense!” exclaimed another academic. “We try to be nice and call them what they want, but one of those little shits has me calling him ‘Your Highness’ when I call on him in class.”

I particularly like the last one: what is to prevent someone—a young, cynical whippersnapper—from choosing a word as his/her/its/zer/their personal pronoun that doesn’t come from the previously used set? If gender no longer limits pronouns, then are there any limits? Zer is a new word and that’s used. What about “schlong”? Or “Trump”? If all gloves are off, then all gloves are off, nö? If you can’t interfere with someone’s lived experience and interpretations of certain phonemes, then you can’t impose your own interpretation of those sounds, either. Sure, the entire rest of the English-speaking world thinks that “schlong” and “Trump” are not personal pronouns, but that isn’t allowed to matter, is it? Or is this not about equality of expression, after all?