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On August 27, 1908, the American Bar Association adopted its first Canons of Professional Ethics.  Next year will mark its 100th anniversary. The Cannons are very instructiuve and should be read by every attorney licensed to practice. More importantly, The Cannons should be read by those who think they want to go to law school and become a lawyer.

It is no surprise that all of these recently graduated 20-somethings who think they want to become lawyers and do, but have no idea what will really be required of them, go on to commit blatant acts of malpractice and display the worst of the profession.

Due to the fact that an individuals LSAT score, the most important factor in getting admitted to law school and thus entry in the profession, is not an indication of true qualifications to practice law according to the Canons, the profession is overrun with individuals who have no business practicing law.

So, if you think you want to be a lawyer, read the Canons and honestly ask yourself if you have it within you to embody them.  

Originally posted to Neoprag on Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 02:30 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Neoprag (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B, Jeff Y

    Have you read the Canons recently?  I'm a lawyer; I think I'm pretty ethical, but I haven't read the Canons since law school.  

    What do you think is the most important lesson from the Canons that young lawyers miss?

    •  Yes I have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeff Y

      read the Canons. For Starters, Canon 1 (Duty to the Courts) and Canon 5 (Defense and Prosecurtion of Those Accused of a Crime)

      The problem with metaphysics is that anyone can say anything and get away with it. - Richard Rorty

      by Neoprag on Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 02:36:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  More practical to read the actual rules that (0+ / 0-)

        are enforced, which in most states are a local dialect of the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility published by the ABA.  They are of much more recent vintage.  Better yet, read how some states make slight modifications to those rules for their local environments.

        •  This is more for edification (0+ / 0-)

          and a thought experiment.  Being a lawyer gives one a lot of power and responsibility. lawyers, like doctors, can and do commit malpractice.

          The problem with metaphysics is that anyone can say anything and get away with it. - Richard Rorty

          by Neoprag on Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 02:45:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Absolutely agreed (0+ / 0-)

            while ethical rules do not constitute the basis for malpractice per se (they are both over- and under-inclusive for civil malpractice) they are definitely a worthy read.

            The most common way for an attorney to get into ethical jeopardy is irregularities with an escrow account.  While mismanagement of an escrow account is severely unprofessional it is not malpractice except in the rarest cases, i.e. it does not generally damage the client's legal position as against third parties in the overwhelming number of cases.

  •  Why bother reading it (4+ / 0-)

    when you can just go to Regent U and get a top level job at the DOJ upon graduation? ;o)

  •  Thanks for the Diary, but please note, (0+ / 0-)

    there is more than a fine line between "acts of malpractice" and "unethical behavior". Although some may argue "acts of malpractice" and "unethical behavior" can or may be the same, in my opinion acts of "unethical behavior" are far more serious, as such acts go to the core of the character of the attorney.   I suggest the Canons of Professional Ethics were adopted not so much to curb malpractice as to establish a baseline of acceptable ethical conduct.

    If one has difficulty remembering the various canons of professional ethics, there is one, which if observed, should/will result in the adherence to all, to wit:

    CANON 9: A LAWYER SHOULD AVOID EVEN THE APPEARANCE OF PROFESSIONAL IMPROPRIETY.

    The longer the party goes on in everything, the bigger the potential correction in something will be.

    by brjzn on Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 02:50:14 PM PST

    •  True (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      penguinsong

      and thanks for the post. My point is that the Canons make clear that policing the profession is left up to attys, and currenlty, attys are free to harm clients with relative impunity.

      The problem with metaphysics is that anyone can say anything and get away with it. - Richard Rorty

      by Neoprag on Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 03:03:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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