"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.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Are we about to see a shift to secret lawyering?

The recent "Ashley Madison" scandal left customers of this "service" (which promised privacy of customers' information), well, exposed with secrets that they wouldn't want to parade in public, and even, reportedly, caused suicides.

Yet, latest developments with breach of attorney-client privileges by law firms (disgruntled former employees of such law firms) or through exposure of their computer-based information to international hackers, show that what people do in bed with other people not their spouses may be the least of our concerns.

Well, now it concerns only clients of 50 U.S. elite firms - according to the recently reported threat to security of client information in those unidentified firms.

But, if technically such a breach is possible, it is possible with any other law firm whose computers are exposed to the Internet, and that is, probably, the majority of law firms' computers - where people need to do legal research online.

Just recently, a disgruntled employee of a Panama law firm spilled her former employer's client list to journalists - which led to extrordinary international scandals, at the highest political level.

Also, reportedly an international hacker recently announced that he is hiring other hackers to breach security protections and obtain client lists from the world's 50 leading U.S. law firms.

Since the cybercriminal is posting about his plans on forums, and is thus openly challenging those elite law firms, he may already have a plan and may already know some weakness that the elite law firms' security features are exposed to.

So, in the increasingly globalized and "internetized" world, the large clients of law firms are increasingly exposed to risks that may not be worth it.

What would be the resulting strategy of the government and the law firms?

To make names of the law firms themselves secret to prevent such targeting?

But what then about the state licensing requirement - where the law license of each attorney in the U.S. , as well as his or her place of work - is a matter of public record?

Will underground attorney licensing and underground lawyering by secret mammoth law firms start taking place from now on?

Interesting times we live in...

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