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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