"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.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Trends, trends, trends

I am continuing to do research on the so-called "business models" across large law firms in the country.

I already posted multiple stories on this blog evidencing the most prominent "business model" that I see as an attorney and a researcher, the "mesh-advice-carrot-and-stick" business model.  You can word-search on this blog "American Inns of Court",  "Judges indebted to others", "state-federal judicial council" for examples of how large law firms hire relatives, friends and/or former employees of judges, "serve" upon public or quasi-public bodies that provide either education, entertainment, catering, rule-making or discipline for the judiciary.

More and more I come to a conclusion that a large factor in hiring practices of large law firms is the candidate's connections with all branches of the government and especially the judiciary.  That is convenient both from the point of view of influence upon courts - favorable decisions - and money and growing popularity with clients and more money which comes with it, and it is convenient from the point of view of being free from any reach of sanctions from the judiciary, no matter what the firm or attorney from the firm may be doing.  

The approach proves to be invincible, since only solo attorneys appear to ever be reached by discipline.

It appears important for large law firms to have their attorneys "serve" in a variety of capacities on committees that 

(1) create court rules;  
(2) create the law, including the laws favoring the law business itself;  
(3) advise the judiciary;  
(4) provide small and large benefits and favors for the judiciary, openly and behind closed doors through various "social networking" situations and settings; 
(5) be part of selection of judges;  
(6) be part of judicial discipline; 
(7) be part of attorney discipline

Participation in all of those activities is possible only when the law firm is large enough to afford to do business and have their various members "serve" in those various capacities. 

This "business model" provides allows large law firms to:

(1) provide enough favors for the judiciary so that it is "not proper" for the court not to give them something in return;
(2) have an intimidating effect upon judges where law firms whose members can discipline judges appear in front of those judges;
(3) create rules and laws favorable for the law firms and their clients;
(4) know the "insider rules" and "the ears" of particular judges by hiring his or her law clerks and other court personnel;
(5) be in a position of an "advisor" to the judiciary and thus be deemed a better advocate than solo independent attorneys;

I wonder why attorneys and judges still bother with oaths of office when the way decisions are so clearly tainted by the "business model" and, even with scant hard evidence of briberies of the judiciary by large law firms (because potential prosecutors are also lawyers craving, in the event they are not re-elected for the next term, to go work for those large firms and use their connections for personal gain), there is enough appearances of impropriety and likelihood of influence upon the judiciary by large law firms in the make-up of law firms, their hiring practices - and then blatant advertising of attorneys' prior employment with the judiciary or other branches of the government to attract more clients and raise prestige of their firm. 

Stay tuned for the ratings that will start coming next week.

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