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What Happens If Lawyers Are Not Independent?


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It is the lawyers, says this Harvard professor, who is the ones who fight for the truth and send the bad people in jail. Lawyers cannot do their job well unless they remain independent from public opinion, their clients, and the government. People have to not that out system of government is sensitive to rights of individuals and ensuring a fair process, and for lawyers to do their work; they must be independent in thought and action.

Independence is always important because not having it, we would not only degrade ourselves professionally and impair our ability to discharge our duties to clients, but we also would not be able to engage in various types of socially desirable work whether it is aiding the disadvantaged or participating in the policy issues of the day. More importantly there are about four major types of independence that lawyers must adhere to. These are independence in the practice of law, independence from public opinion, independence from clients, and independence from government. It is less common now, the Independence in the practice of law because most lawyers do not fit the old pattern of the free professional, implying the independent attorney working in a rural or small community.

In that environment, the lawyer was self-employed without long term ties to particular clients and rather free to pick and choose among the cases offered to him. Now lawyers do not have that much freedom with their work and in decision making since, most of them are working for institutions and large law firms. These days, more and more lawyers are succumbing to a lot of pressures.

People see practicing law now as a business then it is a profession. Most of the time, people are looking to reduce costs and delays, which often leads to a preference for avoiding trials at all costs. More often than not, lawyers are somehow dominated by some other lawyer but the important domination will come from the judicial pressure or client pressure.

Sometimes going to trial can be good for both parties in order to reach a compromise. Lawyers also must remain independent from public opinion, which might seem strange in a society in which people rule. What you want to remember is that our society gives high respect to the rights of unpopular individuals and groups and ideas, and it is the lawyer who must strive to protect them.

In colonial era, the press helped whip the public into frenzy over what was termed the Boston Massacre, where British troops fired into ruckus a mob killing five colonists. At that time it was not a favorable choice but this lawyer defended the soldiers and later went on to help write the Declaration of Independence and served as the nation's second president. What the lawyer believed in was that no person in a free society should be denied the right to counsel or denied a fair trial. With that, over time his representation of the British increased his public standing and made him well respected. In the six convicted soldiers, there were four who were acquitted and two were convicted only of manslaughter.

This lawyer said that the case was one of the most gallant, generous, manly, and disinterested actions of his whole life and one of the best pieces of service he ever rendered to his country. Adhering to popular opinion may not yield the greatest payoff in the end. According to him, lawyers need to remember that they have an adversarial system in which fairness depends on spirited advocacy on both sides. He also says that it is best for lawyers to stay away from the desire to be liked, to compromise their independence, their willingness to stand up for their clients.

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