"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Texas Supreme Court's "generous" permission for out-of-state lawyers - and an interesting revelation regarding the true reason for attorney regulation in the U.S.

The Texas Supreme Court magnanimously allowed out-of-state lawyers to provide services to Harvey victims - but only on a pro bono basis, and 

The Texas Supreme Court did not make a ruling for the in-state attorneys though restricting their ability to provide their services to the same Harvey victims to only pro bono.

Why is it so?

A prominent legal blog "Above the Law" explains it this way:

So, "I get the economics of out-of-state restrictions"?

"This State's bar can't have That State's lawyers flying in and scooping up all the legal work"?

So, the legal profession, in the face of a HUGE NATURAL DISASTER, that affected millions of people, is still insisting on their right to keep out outsiders who will simply charge less and provide better services - only allowing those who can afford the personal expense (travel, accommodation, being away from work and paying clients) of coming in and offering their services for free?

But, isn't occupational regulation of any profession in general, and attorney regulation in particular, imposed upon the American public (including in the State of Texas) as a way to PROTECT THE PUBLIC, not in order to protect in-state lawyers from out-of-state competition?

Yet, the disaster of Harvey and the spectacularly protective decision of the Texas Supreme Court, even in the face of this disaster, where ANYBODY will legal knowledge, with or without a license, willing to provide legal services, would be welcome, especially taking into account the amount of illiterate and poor people who would need legal help in the aftermath of the hurricane - reveals the true nature of attorney regulation.

Texas lawyers should be ashamed of its State Supreme Court, and should request to allow not only out-of-state lawyers, but non-lawyers, too, law students, people with law degrees, but without licenses, to be able to help in the aftermath of Harvey - for a minimal pay or without pay. 

And, if Harvey victims should be helped pro bono (which I am totally ok with), the Texas Supreme Court should allow help through the Internet to such people from anywhere in the world, from people with knowledge of the English language and legal knowledge, and should impose the pro bono requirement on such help universally, to every person serving such victims - without regard whether the person is a licensed attorney or not, an in-state attorney or not.

That would serve the purpose of serving the victims of the hurricane, and protecting the public from those who would want to gouge on people's misfortune - wouldn't it?

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