Defense lawyers aren't responsible?

August 16, 2010
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Has anyone seen Liberty Mutual’s online video called “Lawyers” starring Ron Livingston and Saffron Burrows as defense attorneys?

I came across it as I was reading a story on Slate.com. It was an ad imbedded in the story. I took the bait and opened it. It’s well done, but just rubs me the wrong way. And I love Ron Livingston.  

Livingston’s character, Ryder, is a public defender. His girlfriend, Ann, is a private defense attorney who has just agreed to represent a baseball player in a steroids case. Ryder is planning on proposing, but gets cold feet based on Ann’s characters comments on her representation. She wants to make the argument the ball player had no idea what the doctor was injecting into him.

They get into a small ethical debate, which puts an end to the proposal Ryder planned to make in a grand fashion at a restaurant.

Liberty Mutual produced the video as a part of its Responsibility Project, which includes a website on exploring what it means to do the right thing. This is a common theme in its advertising (think of the ad where one person sees someone do a good thing, so that person does something good, and so on, leading back to the first scene of do-gooders), so this is really just a glorified ad campaign.

Part of the project mentions how it’s not always about “black and white,” which is also said in the video. But the video makes it seem like a defense attorney, hired to try to get her client off, is doing something wrong by defending him when she knows he took steroids.

Yes, defense attorneys get a bad rap, but that’s because they defend some bad people. Last time I checked, those accused of a crime are entitled to an attorney, not that only those who are innocent are entitled to an attorney.

The video implies a lack of responsibility on the female attorney’s part. Yes, it stinks that she’s trying to find loopholes and other ways to get her client off, but that’s her job. Is it fair to paint her as a bad person or irresponsible?
 

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  1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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