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 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. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.