Legal Ethics and Reform
Famous Quotes & Interesting Statistics About Lawyers, Judges, etc.
Note: A new item is added to this list every week. Check back to
have your preconceptions about our legal system challenged. After
finishing this page, your are invited to visit An Earlier Famous Quotes and
Interesting Statistics Page, which contains the items posted during
the last half of 1996.
.."The New York legislature was concerned because polls showed
the people had a low regard for the judical processes in the state. So
the legislature passed a law to allow televesions cameras to cover
trials. After eighteen months, polls showed the people's regard for the
judicary had declined."...
...In 1997, 11 of the 34 member of the Missouri State
Senate were lawyers. ...
. Official Manual of the State of
..."Before the Law stands a doorkeeper. To this
doorkeeper comes a man from the country and prays for
admittance to the Law. But the doorkeeper says he cannot
grant admittance at the monment. The man thinks it over
and asks if he will be allowed in later. 'It is
possible' says the doorkeeper, 'but not at the moment'.
Since the gate stands open, as usual, and the doorkeeper
steps to one side, the man stoops to peer through the
gateway into the interior. Observing that, the
doorkeeper laughs and says 'If you are so drawn to it ,
just try to go in despite my veto. But take note: I am
powerful. And I am only the least of the doorkeepers.
From hall to hall there is one doorkeeper after another,
each more terrible than the last. The third doorkeeper
is already so terrible that even I cannot bear to look
at him.' These are difficulties the man from the country
has not expected; the Law, he thinks, should surely be
accessible at all times and to everyone."...
..."In a fully developed bureaucracy there is
nobody left with whom one can argue ...Bureaucracy is
the form of government in which everyone is deprived of
... the power to act; for the rule of Nobody is not
no rule, and where all are equally powerless we have a
tyranny without a tyrant." ...
. Hannah Arendt
..."Throughout the period
of the American Revolution, (Edmund) Burke continued to condemn abstract
theoretical reasoning in politics, and to oppose it with his
principle of prudence. In 1774 he urged that the spirit
of practicality and moderation, rather than
'geometrical exactness', supplied the best means of
arbitrating an amiicable settlement with America. He
refused to go into distinctions of 'rights' or mark
their boundries and confessed he hated the very sound of
theoretical discourse.... He held, too, that 'abstract
liberty, like other mere abstractions, is not to be found.
Liberty inheres in some sensible object.'.... Burke's
Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol (1977) contains
a candid self portrait of his love of prudence and
distrust of speculative political reasoning: 'I do not
pretend to be an antiquary, a lawyer, or qualified for
the chair of professor in metaphysics. I never ventured
to put your solid interests upon speculative grounds.' "
. Peter J. Stanlis
..."The American people have been lawyer'd into
abject submission. They are aliented from their
government, no longer believing it belongs to them.
Cynicism is widespread. ..... Lawyers, as a rule, never tilled
a field, repaired an automobile, built a product,
managed a profit-and-loss business, competed in
international markets, planned a manufacturing facility,
or generally speaking added anything of tangible value
to the gross national product. ..... They are power brokers
who deal in abstractions and theories. They are schooled
in closed systems of logic that have no touch points
with reality. They speak a strange language that they
themselves do not understand. All signs of common sense
have been throughly hammared out of their minds by years
of intensive training. ........ These are people who make our
economic decisions, handle our budgets, negotiate our
trade deals, oversee our military strategy, design our
social programs, regulate our businesses, mandate our
private behavior, and redistribute our wealth. ..... Taken as
a whole, the legal profession benefits from what laws
are written and the way they are written. The more
unintelligible the laws are and the more berefit they
are of common sense, the more they serve the financial
interests of lawyers. The conflict of interest is
. Linda Bowles
Corrections' legal counsel (says) that cameras are not allowed into prison
'no matter how noble the cause'"...
. David Rocchio
..."The National Institute of Dispute Resolution
(NIDR), a non-profit organization that provides technical
assitance and funding for new ADR (Alternative Dispute
Resolution) programs, documents the
growth of what officials call simply 'Dispute Resolution'. '
We don't see it as 'alternative' anymore', explains Vice
Pres. Thomas A. Fee" ...
. Donald E. deKieffer,
"There is a further dimension to the lawyer's
prophetic ministry that needs to be addressed. Prophets
have a disconcerting and upsetting habit of speaking
loudly about justice and injustice. Amos, Isaiah, and
the other Hebrew prophets refuse to seperate worship of
God from service to those too weak to help themselves.
God, they insist, demands not pious rituals of religious
devotion but lives lived in righteousness and dedicated
. Joseph G. Allegretti
..."French law seems to the English legal scholar
to be made up of only a framework within which it is
often easy for the courts to change the content of the
rules in a way hardly propitious for the security of
legal relationships. English law gives exactly the
contrary impression to the continental jurist; he finds
it over-burdended with legal definations and detailed
solutions which, he would think, would be better left to
the discretion of the judge in each individual case
rather than chaining him to respect for them through the
play of the rule of precedent."...
.Rene David and John E.
"Powerful corporations and their lawyers have
not been content to remove troublesome witnesses and
opposing lawyers from the legal landscape. Sometimes,
in their quest for legal dominance, they try to get
judges off a particular case or even off the bench for
Ralph Nader and Wesley J. Smith
..."the best check on the excesses of litigation
is not the rules of the profession or even judicial
oversight but the values and character of individual
. Joseph G. Allegretti
..."You can not be a good lawyer until you are a
. George Wythe
..."(many judges) believe our Constitution is a
'living document' that must change with the times. Those
who share this view are purveyors of conflict and chaos.
If you have no consistency and fixed constitutional
rules then you have no Constitution. The Founding
Fathers allowed for change, but it was for the people not a
few self-appointed platonic guardians wrapped in robes
of self proclaimed paternalism."...
. John R. Stoeffler
..."Gov. Fob James told a prayer
breakfast that no judge, state or Federal, will be allowed to tear down
the plaque of the Ten Commandments from an Alabama courtroom as long
as he, his state troopers, Alabama's National Guard can
prevent it. .... Gov. James told me, Pres. Clinton will
have to nationalize the Guard to take down the plaque. If the governor
holds his ground, he can make the Etowah County Courthouse the Concord
Bridge of a middle American revolution against our reigning Judicial
. Pat Buchanan
..."In bankruptcy proceedings unsecured lawyer's
fees are paid and use up the assets before unpaid school
property taxes are paid. I can't see why lawyers should
be given special treatment just because lawyers wrote
the bankruptcy code."...
. Sen. Charles Grassley (R -
..."For both (the English and American legal
system) law is thought of as essentially judge-made;
legislative rules, no matter how nunereous, are viewed
with some discomfort because they are not the normal
expression of the legal rule. They are only truly
assimilited into the American legal system when they
have been judically interpreted and applied and when it
is possible to refer to the court's decisions applying
them rather than the legislative texts themselves. When
there are no precedents, the American lawyer will say: "There is no law on the point," even though there may be
some legislative provision covering the matter." ...
Rene David and John E. C. Brieley
..."I have argued that lawyers should not engage
in litigation tactics that frustrate or distort the
search for truth, such as covering up a client's
perjury. Lawyers often argue that it is impossible to
maintain high ethical standards during a lawsuit. You
may not want to play hardball, but if the other side
does, you feel no choice but to respond in turn .."...
Law Prof. Joseph G. Allegretti
..."In general, Christians
are to settle their disputes within the community of faith and bear their
wrongs patiently without retaliation. Resort to the
courts is allowed only in the exceptional case when it
can be undertakwen without impairing Christian love and
ties that bind the community of believers. Everything
hinges on the disposition of the litigant. 'In all this'
says Calvin, 'love will be the best guide' "...
. Joseph G.
... "Wynsom & Lewsom
- Attorneys at Law"...
. proposed name for a law firm by
..."The purpose of the priviledge (regarding
attorney-client communications) is 'to encourage full
and frank communication between attorneys and their
clients and thereby to promote broader public interests
in observance of law and the administration of justice.
The priviledge recognizes that sound legal advice or
advocacy serves public ends and that such advice or
advocacy depends upon the lawyer being fully informed by
the client' ... Upjohn v. United States
..."There is no
priest-penitent privildge at common law - Commonwealth
of Mass. v. Drake (1818)"
. Hon. Paul L. Liacos, Mark S.
Brown, and Micheal Avery
..."The appropriate response to
dishonesty in attorney billing cannot be a mere wringing of hands.
Instead, victims of billing abuse should complain loudly
to authorities, even if offered restitution from their
. Ralph Nader and Wesley J. Smith
..."Escape was (is) a common, usually unspoken,
dream of many small-town lawyers
trapped in an overcrowded, boring profession where
expectations were (are) too high."...
. John Grisham
..."Nearly all of Shaekspeare's heros belong
to the upper and ruling classes ... Shakespeare shows
the ruling classes with the insight born of intimacy. He
is keenly aware of their manners, their feelings, their
special problems, their temptations, and their habits of
thought. We never feel he is guessing or speculating
about their inner lives from afar. ... (the author of
the Shakespeare plays) typicially makes his common
characters buffoons. He presents them in an entirely
different way from his noble characters. They are
usually illiterate and illogical. They speak in
malapropisms and mangled classical references. Their
inmost thoughts are preposterous. My point is not that
he is hostile to them , but that he sees them from
outside - and above. He looks down on them, however
benignly and affectionately. They are inherently
ridiculous. When they form a mob, they are also
dangerous, but still ridiculous. (In Henry VI) when the
yokel rebel says, 'The first thing we do, let's kill
all the lawyers', he is not speaking for Shakespeare,
as most people who quote his famous line assume, but
revealing his own comic unfitness to form a new social
order. Shakespeare is clearly pro-lawyer."....
Note: Joseph Sobran
has just published a book etitiled
Alias Shakespeare in which he argues
that the author of the Shakespeare plays and
sonnetts was not William Shakespeare, a part
time actor from Stratford-on-Avon, but rather
a fellow named Edward DeVere, seventeenth
Earl of Oxford, who was very well educated,
widely traveled for his era having spent
quite a bit of time in Italy, a lady's man
who was suspected of having an affair with
Queen Elizabeth I and was known to have had an affair with one of the
Queen's Ladies in Waiting, he was also a bisexual and probablly had a
homosexual involvement with his daughter's boy friend, Henry Wriothesley,
Earl of Southampton. Oxford was an excellent
writer of poetry and plays which enjoyed narrow circulation among the
nobility, he was a patron of the arts and sponsored extensive artistic
undertakings in London, because of his high position he was prohibited
writing for popular consumption, and - oh yes - he was trained and did
some work as a
lawyer. (Sobran notes that that Shakespeare's initial works - two long
Venus and Adonis
and The Rape of Lucrece - were widely read by the literate
public of the day and were dedicated to Henry Wriothesley, Earl
..."According to the Statistical
Abstract of the United States ... in 1980 there was one lawyer per 403
people in the U.S., by 1990 that number rose to one
lawyer per 340, and by the year 2000, the proportion is
estimated to be one lawyer per 300 people."...
E. deKieffer, Esq.
"The amateur liar usually has a poor memory,
which is fatal to him. Often he is trapped when, after
he has committed the perjury, he is led away from the
subject only to be suddenly brought back again with a
. J. W. Ehrlich
shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false
witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;
then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have
done unto his brother" ...
. Book of Deuteronomy
..."Until the late 1930's, lawsuits in the United
States were pursued under a 'sporting theory of
justice', where trials were often a game of chance
rather than a search for facts. A party to a lawsuit did
not have the right to discover facts and evidence in the
possession of its opponent. ... Modern discovery rules
both at the federal and state levels, were enacted to
reform the justice system on the theory that as the
Supreme Court put it in a 1947 opinion 'mutual knowledge
of all relevant facts gathered by both parties is
essential to proper litigation' . The aim of the modern
rules. according to the Supreme Court, is to 'make a
trial less a game of blind man's bluff and more a
fair contest with basic issues and facts disclosed
to the fullest practicable extent'. "...
. Ralph Nader
and Wesley J. Smith
..."A lawyer shall not: ....(a)
unlawfully obstruct another party's access to evidence or unlawfully
alter, destroy or conceal a document or other material
having potential evidentiary value. A lawyer shall not
counsel or assist another person to do any such act;
....(b) falsify evidence, counsel or assist a witness to
testify falsely, or offer an inducement to a witness
that is prohibited by law; (c) ..."...
Court Rules - Rule 3.4
..."In 1881, Justice Morrison
R. Waite observed that the Supreme Court's appellate powers 'always have
been the proper subject of legaislative control ...
(and) whole classes of cases (may) be kept out of (the
court's) jurisdiction altogether'"...
Supreme Court Justice Robert T. Donnelly
... "Saint Yves Helory (studied civil and canon law in Paris in
1270's. After gaining distiction he returned to his native
Brittany where he was appointed a dioceasan judge). As a
judge he carried out his duties with equity,
incorruptibility, and concern for the poor and the
lowly. His fame spread quickly and he became known as
the 'poor man's advocate'. He pleaded for the poor in
other courts, going so far as to pay their expenses and
even visiting them in prison; his constant concern was
to obtain justice for all. Accordingly, he constantly
tried to reconcile quarrelling parties and have them
arrive at an amicable agreement without incurring the
costs of unnecessary lawsuits. ... He lived frugally and
unassumingly, instructing people in both spiritual and
temporal things ... On May 19, 1303, this 'attorney who
was a holy man' appeared before the Ultimate Judge to
receive his reward."...
Rev. Hugo Hoever, Ph.D.
..."The American student comes to law school for
essentially professional and practical training. When he
leaves he counts upon the fact that his legal training
will equip him to practise law. The American law school,
in its effect to provide professional training, is thus
more closely akin to various French institutes or technical
schools than it is to French law faculties."...
. Rene David
& John E C Brierley
"Harvard Law School's Prof. Mary Ann Glendon notes
that formal legal ethics standards have been 'dumbed
down' over the years, eliminating words like 'right' and
'wrong' and making moral considerations optional."
News and World Report (Jan 30, 1995)
Those who say average Americans have less or much less access to the
legal system than the rich .... 75%
say lawyers should not be allowed to contact families of
accident victims .... 78%
.. Who think
contigency fee cases are the only way average people who
have been injured can afford a lawyer ....
.. Who think contigency fee cases
encourage to many lawsuits .... 44%
. From a U. S. News and
Report poll (Jan 1995)
average award in personal-injury cases is
not megabucks but $48,000. Punative damages -- the
bugbear of big business, awarded not to compensate the
victim for actual harm done but as a deterrent, and
which can run into tens of millions of dollars or more
-- are also much rarer than is commonly believed. A
study of product liability cases from 1965 to 1990 found
only 353 such awards, which averaged $625,000; after
appeal, the average dropped to $135,000."...
Budiansky, Ted Gest and David Fisher
..."although the youngest category of lawyers
(those with less than four years of experience)
accounted for almost 13 percent of lawyers, (this group) only
accounted for four percent of all (legal malpractice)
. Ronald E. Mallen and Jeffrey M. Smith
..."The former Spainish possessions which are now
states of the United States (Florida, California, New
Mexico, Arizona, Texas, etc) have preserved certain
institution of the old colonial law, but today they too
have become Common Law jurisdictions. The same is true
of the Panama Canal Zone and Guyana. The State of
Louisiana, St. Lucia, the Province of Quebec, and Puerto
Rico have, on the contrary, successfully maintained their
tradition up to the present time. They are mixed
jurisdictions, borrowing certain elements from the
Common Law but, to a certain extent, retaining their
membertship in the Romano-Germanic family."...
David and John E. C. Brierley
..."people know that something
is wrong. They sense the imbalances, the unfairness in the justice
system. They suspect that the playing field and the
rules of the game favor the rich and powerful, but
they may not know what to do about it. Unfocused anger
can be destructive, because it can be manipulated by
organized interests with hidden agendas and often
leads to support for measures that will ultimately
. Ralph Nader and Wesley J. Smith
..."If we are to keep our democracy, there
must be one commandment: Thou shalt not ration
. Justice Learned Hand
Constitution was contemplated "as a rule for the government
of courts, as well as of the legislature." ...
. Chief Justice
..."There were four times as many published appellate decisions
concerning legal malpractice in the 1970's as during the 1960's. During
the 1970's alone, there were almost as many reported legal malpractice
decisions as there were in the previous history of American jurisprudence.
In the 1980's, the number of reported decisions tripled over the prior
Ronald E. Mallen and Jeffrey M. Smith
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