Do you have the stomach for law?

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reasonabledoubt
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Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby reasonabledoubt » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:43 am

You heard me. Has anyone else given much thought to what happens when you have to stare your morality, conviction, sense of right-and-wrong (and more) right in the face and have to kick it?

In other words, what happens in the future when (for example) you realize your entire being might be to ensure the bad guy wins or at least doesn't lose because he/she/it is paying your firm money, which in turn pays you.

This is a generalized question because there is of course hundreds of different ways our system of law is applied as well as the lawyers function within it, but it is still worth asking. Do you think you'll have a "limit" in terms of what you simply won't breach when it comes to being a human vs. doing your job?

I won't draw out this hypothetical example... but just think of the figurative rapist that your firm is defending confiding in you that "she was asking for it" etc. Her case against him is weak for whatever reason and your role is to make it even weaker. This is your job. You know he's a rapist. How do you justify your work in your mind realizing the better you are at doing your job, the more likely a rapist will be found not guilty? Do you have the stomach for law? Discuss....

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Joga Bonito
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby Joga Bonito » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:51 am

I actually don't know what I will do, I’m actually kind of afraid to work in the private sector for this reason. I feel like there will be a short honey money period and then I’ll hit a wall where I will be in some sort of compromising situation at some point, I guess I will A. leave the firm and try to find another job, perhaps unsuccessfully B. try and get a teaching job somewhere, perhaps unsuccessfully C. Go work in public interest, perhaps unsuccessfully D. find some other non-law job, perhaps unsuccessfully. I almost feel like there is now way to make partner at a bigfirm at least, without doing something or supporting/defending something or someone that I find morally/ethically reprehensible.

Good question though, I don't think I could kick my convictions to the curve like that but I also don't have tons of law school debt, a wife and kids to take care of, a nice house and tons of money being flashed in my face yet either.
Last edited by Joga Bonito on Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:55 am, edited 3 times in total.

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kittenmittons
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby kittenmittons » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:53 am

You of all people should know I do bro

--ImageRemoved--

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reasonabledoubt
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby reasonabledoubt » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:57 am

Joga Bonito wrote:I actually don't know what I will do, I’m actually kind of afraid to work in the private sector for this reason. I feel like there will be a short honey money period and then I’ll hit a wall where I will be in some sort of compromising situation at some point, I guess I will A. leave the firm and try to find another job, perhaps unsuccessfully B. try and get a teaching job somewhere, perhaps unsuccessfully C. Go work in public interest, perhaps unsuccessfully D. find some other non-law job, perhaps unsuccessfully.

Good question though.


Seriously? Wow, you're pretty ethics-driven, which is great, but I was expecting the first answer to be something to the effect of, "Justice doesn't always end in justice... that's not the lawyers role to even worry about, etc, etc, show me the money."

Anyways, I hear ya.... good perspective. Maybe this is a largely ignored question on these threads we should all consider more to ensure we position ourselves in the area of law we'll be most suited for.

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reasonabledoubt
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby reasonabledoubt » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:01 am

kittenmittons wrote:You of all people should know I do bro

--ImageRemoved--


TITCAR (this is the credited ab response)

I also like how TIT CAR sounds.

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kittenmittons
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby kittenmittons » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:02 am

reasonabledoubt wrote:TITCAR (this is the credited ab response)

I also like how TIT CAR sounds.


Sounds like something I could get on board with

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Joga Bonito
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby Joga Bonito » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:05 am

reasonabledoubt wrote:
Joga Bonito wrote:I actually don't know what I will do, I’m actually kind of afraid to work in the private sector for this reason. I feel like there will be a short honey money period and then I’ll hit a wall where I will be in some sort of compromising situation at some point, I guess I will A. leave the firm and try to find another job, perhaps unsuccessfully B. try and get a teaching job somewhere, perhaps unsuccessfully C. Go work in public interest, perhaps unsuccessfully D. find some other non-law job, perhaps unsuccessfully.

Good question though.


Seriously? Wow, you're pretty ethics-driven, which is great, but I was expecting the first answer to be something to the effect of, "Justice doesn't always end in justice... that's not the lawyers role to even worry about, etc, etc, show me the money."

Anyways, I hear ya.... good perspective. Maybe this is a largely ignored question on these threads we should all consider more to ensure we position ourselves in the area of law we'll be most suited for.


I guess my thing is I care a lot about social justice (however you would like to define it I think you know what I mean) and have worked in that area for a while so it would be hard for me to support something or defend a person/business/organization/coporation that I feel violates peoples civil rights or oppresses the poor in any sense, thus I don't expect to ever be able to be partner at a bigfirm regardless of how good a lawyer I was, just hope to cash in on the big salary for a bit until I'm forced to do something else.

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big_blue79
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby big_blue79 » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:06 am

Part of what attracts me to law is that I've found that the system itself is important to good governance. The system is far from perfect, but the moral vacancy of any individual case is hollow when weighed against the need for a functioning system of law. However, I don't know that I can build a career on morally bankrupt cases. It's one thing to overlook on occasion (greater good); it's another to abandon morality all together. So, the answer is maybe.

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Joga Bonito
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby Joga Bonito » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:10 am

big_blue79 wrote:Part of what attracts me to law is that I've found that the system itself is important to good governance. The system is far from perfect, but the moral vacancy of any individual case is hollow when weighed against the need for a functioning system of law. However, I don't know that I can build a career on morally bankrupt cases. It's one thing to overlook on occasion (greater good); it's another to abandon morality all together. So, the answer is maybe.


This may sound like a slippery slope argument but perhaps the road to hell is paved with good intentions, so perhaps some firms work on you over time, overlook a moral issue here, do it again there and it just becomes easier. You don't become the devil's advocate over night, it takes time.
Last edited by Joga Bonito on Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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reasonabledoubt
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby reasonabledoubt » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:10 am

Both of the above are reasonable, good, thought-out perspectives.... I hope you included that in your personal statements! Good stuff. Well it's good to hear other people's takes on this subject.

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big_blue79
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby big_blue79 » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:17 am

Joga Bonito wrote:
big_blue79 wrote:Part of what attracts me to law is that I've found that the system itself is important to good governance. The system is far from perfect, but the moral vacancy of any individual case is hollow when weighed against the need for a functioning system of law. However, I don't know that I can build a career on morally bankrupt cases. It's one thing to overlook on occasion (greater good); it's another to abandon morality all together. So, the answer is maybe.


This may sound like a slippery slope argument but perhaps the road to hell is paved with good intentions, so perhaps some firms work on you over time, overlook a moral issue here, do it again there and it just becomes easier. You don't become the devil's advocate over night, it takes time.


I agree. A slippery slope argument can arrive at the right conclusion regardless of its fallaciousness. It becomes a forest/trees thing, where you must maintain perspective of both. What if you donate a good percentage of your salary to a non-profit/church/charity? Or help out family members in need with your earnings? In the end, it's up to the individual. For me, I think I can rest easy knowing that I ultimately support the least-worst system, so long as my pillow is stuffed with benjamins.

Edit: I support TITCAR.
Last edited by big_blue79 on Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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englawyer
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby englawyer » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:18 am

i'll do whatever it takes to acquire currency.

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Dick Whitman
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby Dick Whitman » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:23 am

You need to realize that however intelligent and well-intentioned you are, you would make a terrible, terrible czar-of-the-universe. The adversarial approach is superior to the alternative for the same reason capitalism and democracy are superior to the alternatives.

I'm also neither so foolish or independently wealthy as to think helping someone else make a buck is somehow inherently immoral. There are only two kinds of work in this world: honest and dishonest. Popular opinion aside, what most lawyers do is perfectly honest.

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reasonabledoubt
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby reasonabledoubt » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:27 am

englawyer wrote:i'll do whatever it takes to acquire currency.


Don't get offended at the following example... it's just an example, ok?

That hypothetical I used up there... say the girl in the case is your sister and I'm the attorney defending the rapist who has actually confided in me that he certainly is one. What if I embodied the ideology of "I'll do whatever it takes to acquire currency?"

What would you think of me then? Would you respect and understand my allegiance to this perspective and approach? I hear what you're saying - show me the money - but I wonder if you mean it.

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cherryalamode
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby cherryalamode » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:29 am

reasonabledoubt wrote:You heard me. Has anyone else given much thought to what happens when you have to stare your morality, conviction, sense of right-and-wrong (and more) right in the face and have to kick it?

In other words, what happens in the future when (for example) you realize your entire being might be to ensure the bad guy wins or at least doesn't lose because he/she/it is paying your firm money, which in turn pays you.

This is a generalized question because there is of course hundreds of different ways our system of law is applied as well as the lawyers function within it, but it is still worth asking. Do you think you'll have a "limit" in terms of what you simply won't breach when it comes to being a human vs. doing your job?

I won't draw out this hypothetical example... but just think of the figurative rapist that your firm is defending confiding in you that "she was asking for it" etc. Her case against him is weak for whatever reason and your role is to make it even weaker. This is your job. You know he's a rapist. How do you justify your work in your mind realizing the better you are at doing your job, the more likely a rapist will be found not guilty? Do you have the stomach for law? Discuss....


Whether you raped someone or not, they are entitled to a lawyer just like anyone else. I believe it is the defendant who chooses whether to plead guilty or not-guilty, right? A lawyer can only advise. In some ways I think "defending" a murderer/rapist/whatever can be thought of as a way to get justice. The defendant cannot be tried without one, so the only way to put 'em away is to represent them. Some unlucky lawyer gets the short stick, sure, but what can you do?

I like to think of things this way. As long as I don't have to LIE or mentally torture a witness/victim with questions, then I think I shall be fine. By you never know, lol.

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James Bond
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby James Bond » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:31 am

kittenmittons wrote:You of all people should know I do bro

--ImageRemoved--


Anyone else think those really aren't "good abs?"

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whuts4lunch
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby whuts4lunch » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:34 am

I certainly have my boundaries of what I am willing and unwilling to defend. For one, I do not believe that a responsibility to facilitate the functioning of the system justifies defending one who is unquestionably a rapist (assuming it is possible to know this for sure). Wouldn't defending such a person perpetuate flaws in the system lawyers are supposed to protect and better? I don't think that perpetuating those flaws is in the interest of the system as a whole. Wouldn't perpetuating such flaws run against the central purposes (justice, order, retribution, responsibility for wrongful actions, etc) of law?

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Joga Bonito
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby Joga Bonito » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:35 am

big_blue79 wrote:
Joga Bonito wrote:
big_blue79 wrote:Part of what attracts me to law is that I've found that the system itself is important to good governance. The system is far from perfect, but the moral vacancy of any individual case is hollow when weighed against the need for a functioning system of law. However, I don't know that I can build a career on morally bankrupt cases. It's one thing to overlook on occasion (greater good); it's another to abandon morality all together. So, the answer is maybe.


This may sound like a slippery slope argument but perhaps the road to hell is paved with good intentions, so perhaps some firms work on you over time, overlook a moral issue here, do it again there and it just becomes easier. You don't become the devil's advocate over night, it takes time.


I agree. A slippery slope argument can arrive at the right conclusion regardless of its fallaciousness. It becomes a forest/trees thing, where you must maintain perspective of both. What if you donate a good percentage of your salary to a non-profit/church/charity? Or help out family members in need with your earnings? In the end, it's up to the individual. For me, I think I can rest easy knowing that I ultimately support the least-worst system, so long as my pillow is stuffed with benjamins.

Edit: I support TITCAR.


i don't think many of us actually want to pay the price for the least-wrost system, we (myself included) want the least-worst system where we still get paid really good and are comfortable with our lifestyle.

Giving to churches and charities are good but I don't think the ends necessarily justify the means...after all drug dealers, mobsters, plenty of people we consider bad people, who do bad things give to charities but what they do is still wrong. This is not to say that what most lawyers do day to day, even a large nyc firms, are generally evil or wrong or similar to what drug dealers do, but on occasion and in certain cases (egh egh defending Philip Morris and other big tobacco companies, for example) they can be.

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D. H2Oman
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby D. H2Oman » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:35 am

I have absolutely no integrity. Not worried.

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Dick Whitman
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby Dick Whitman » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:36 am

James Bond wrote:
Anyone else think those really aren't "good abs?"


18 year-old DW says no. 28 year-old DW says yes.

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James Bond
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby James Bond » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:37 am

Dick Whitman wrote:
James Bond wrote:
Anyone else think those really aren't "good abs?"


18 year-old DW says no. 28 year-old DW says yes.


But as someone who supposedly is known for his abs...honestly I was expecting better. You could pull someone off the street with abs just as good as if not better than that.

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Joga Bonito
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby Joga Bonito » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:41 am

cherryalamode wrote:
reasonabledoubt wrote:You heard me. Has anyone else given much thought to what happens when you have to stare your morality, conviction, sense of right-and-wrong (and more) right in the face and have to kick it?

In other words, what happens in the future when (for example) you realize your entire being might be to ensure the bad guy wins or at least doesn't lose because he/she/it is paying your firm money, which in turn pays you.

This is a generalized question because there is of course hundreds of different ways our system of law is applied as well as the lawyers function within it, but it is still worth asking. Do you think you'll have a "limit" in terms of what you simply won't breach when it comes to being a human vs. doing your job?

I won't draw out this hypothetical example... but just think of the figurative rapist that your firm is defending confiding in you that "she was asking for it" etc. Her case against him is weak for whatever reason and your role is to make it even weaker. This is your job. You know he's a rapist. How do you justify your work in your mind realizing the better you are at doing your job, the more likely a rapist will be found not guilty? Do you have the stomach for law? Discuss....


Whether you raped someone or not, they are entitled to a lawyer just like anyone else. I believe it is the defendant who chooses whether to plead guilty or not-guilty, right? A lawyer can only advise. In some ways I think "defending" a murderer/rapist/whatever can be thought of as a way to get justice. The defendant cannot be tried without one, so the only way to put 'em away is to represent them. Some unlucky lawyer gets the short stick, sure, but what can you do?

I like to think of things this way. As long as I don't have to LIE or mentally torture a witness/victim with questions, then I think I shall be fine. By you never know, lol.


Yeah that makes sense...but I'm not defending somebody who I know is a rapist if they wanna lie and plead not guilty when they know they're guilty or it seems clear to me that they are.

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arklogic
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby arklogic » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:47 am

Image

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big_blue79
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby big_blue79 » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:11 am

Joga Bonito wrote:
big_blue79 wrote:
Joga Bonito wrote:
big_blue79 wrote:Part of what attracts me to law is that I've found that the system itself is important to good governance. The system is far from perfect, but the moral vacancy of any individual case is hollow when weighed against the need for a functioning system of law. However, I don't know that I can build a career on morally bankrupt cases. It's one thing to overlook on occasion (greater good); it's another to abandon morality all together. So, the answer is maybe.


This may sound like a slippery slope argument but perhaps the road to hell is paved with good intentions, so perhaps some firms work on you over time, overlook a moral issue here, do it again there and it just becomes easier. You don't become the devil's advocate over night, it takes time.


I agree. A slippery slope argument can arrive at the right conclusion regardless of its fallaciousness. It becomes a forest/trees thing, where you must maintain perspective of both. What if you donate a good percentage of your salary to a non-profit/church/charity? Or help out family members in need with your earnings? In the end, it's up to the individual. For me, I think I can rest easy knowing that I ultimately support the least-worst system, so long as my pillow is stuffed with benjamins.

Edit: I support TITCAR.


i don't think many of us actually want to pay the price for the least-wrost system, we (myself included) want the least-worst system where we still get paid really good and are comfortable with our lifestyle.

Giving to churches and charities are good but I don't think the ends necessarily justify the means...after all drug dealers, mobsters, plenty of people we consider bad people, who do bad things give to charities but what they do is still [strike]wrong[/strike] illegal and thus outside of the least-worst system I am prepared to uphold. This is not to say that what most lawyers do day to day, even a large nyc firms, are generally evil or wrong or similar to what drug dealers do, but on occasion and in certain cases (egh egh defending Philip Morris and other big tobacco companies, for example) they can be.


I'm talking more about the gray area in between the extremes and how far an individual may go to one side or the other. The situation is analagous to profit in war. A state may not engage in war explicitly to enhance profits (and jobs) at certain influential firms. However, knowing that profit (and jobs) can be an outcome of war can, consciously or unconsciously, make war seem less bad. To me, the same effect holds true for practicing law.

We may justify it however we want, but in the end the individual must decide how far to one side or the other to go. I just know that I will sleep better at night supporting a system in which I (limitedly) believe. That, and lots of money.

Kobe_Teeth
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:14 am

A lot of people I'm close to, including my SO, call me "detached" and "distant."

"painfully neutral" was thrown out there once too.

I think I'll be ok.




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