Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

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ComatoseClown
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Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby ComatoseClown » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:09 am

Let's suppose an Associate fresh out of law school has begun employment with a firm, and soon enough he/she has been given an assignment that would honestly constitute a personal moral quandary for the Associate. Does he/she have the option to decline the assignment, on the grounds of his that the assignment "crosses the moral boundary" according to his/her personal beliefs/convictions?

I ask because I consider myself to have a stringent ethical base, and I think I may have an issue with defending "White Collar Crime" if I someday end up in law school and then as a lawyer. I'd be curious to any of your thoughts.

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kazu
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby kazu » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:16 am

I know I'm a 0L and therefore not supposed to post/give advice in this forum, but

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=129467&p=3424576#p3424576

And if the OP on that is you, I really hope this thread gets locked.

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20160810
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby 20160810 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:59 am

Generally the managing partners give new associates free rein when it comes to picking and choosing their assignments. Don't like defending white collar criminals? No problem! They'll probably just let you take a couple weeks off and do a pro bono case involving manatees. Then, whenever something comes down the pipe that you personally feel good about, you can start working, and if nothing does, hey, no big deal.

270910
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby 270910 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:34 am

SBL wrote:Generally the managing partners give new associates free rein when it comes to picking and choosing their assignments. Don't like defending white collar criminals? No problem! They'll probably just let you take a couple weeks off and do a pro bono case involving manatees. Then, whenever something comes down the pipe that you personally feel good about, you can start working, and if nothing does, hey, no big deal.


While sarcastic, this is actually close to true at many firms :P

To respond more seriously to OP, it's pretty unlikely you'll face any kind of serious ethical challenge in the particulars of your work. Most lawyers are pretty serious about the whole 'officer of the court' shtick they have going. While you might not be thrilled of the position your clients take on, say, an environmental matter - it's not like you'll be shredding documents, shooting Iraqi citizens, and clubbing seals for singles before getting into bed with BigOilPharmaEnronContractor or whatever.

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profs<3mycomments
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby profs<3mycomments » Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:44 am

M&A is morally neutral except for the fact that you are perpetuating the system in general. So are all aspects of transactional law except possibly employee benefits. This is one of the draws of transactional work for me. I realize this is debatable (both transactional being morally neutral and litigation presenting moral issues) but that's just my take. Re: turning down work enjoy the layoff, I've seen it happen even pre ite.

NYAssociate
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby NYAssociate » Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:47 am

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Last edited by NYAssociate on Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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profs<3mycomments
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby profs<3mycomments » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:04 am

NYAssociate wrote:Ummm... I don't think the OP is referring to immoral procedural acts, or complaining that a firm might make him club seals. It seems like he's complaining about representing clients whose acts he finds morally questionable.


but isn't there a difference between representing clients you find morally questionable and arguing that the morally questionable acts are not morally questionable?

For me (and maybe I'm naive) the day I defend an oil company against Nigerian villagers in a tort suit and GET AWARDED ATTORNEY'S FEES is the day I quit biglaw.

NYAssociate
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby NYAssociate » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:07 am

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Last edited by NYAssociate on Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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profs<3mycomments
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby profs<3mycomments » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:13 am

NYAssociate wrote:
but isn't there a difference between representing clients you find morally questionable and arguing that the morally questionable acts are not morally questionable?


Obviously there is a difference. I never said that morally questionable acts are not morally questionable. I'm just saying that I don't think the OP is concerned about being asked to do morally questionable acts. That's not to say that he'd do them. I just don't think he realistically expects a firm to put him in that position.

My goodness.


No I'm not talking about ethics violations, I'm talking about defending a guilty defendant on the theory that he didn't do what he did. I think this is approximately what the OP is concerned about, and I personally think it's a tough question.

Not trying to troll/flame you dude, just offering my thoughts

NYAssociate
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby NYAssociate » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:18 am

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Last edited by NYAssociate on Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rayiner
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby rayiner » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:17 am

ComatoseClown wrote:Let's suppose an Associate fresh out of law school has begun employment with a firm, and soon enough he/she has been given an assignment that would honestly constitute a personal moral quandary for the Associate. Does he/she have the option to decline the assignment, on the grounds of his that the assignment "crosses the moral boundary" according to his/her personal beliefs/convictions?

I ask because I consider myself to have a stringent ethical base, and I think I may have an issue with defending "White Collar Crime" if I someday end up in law school and then as a lawyer. I'd be curious to any of your thoughts.


LOL. GTFO.

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paratactical
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby paratactical » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:20 am

I've seen people postpone their wedding for a year two weeks before it was supposed to happen in biglaw and you're worried about being able to pass on white collar crime? :lol:

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IAFG
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby IAFG » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:21 am

luckily the vast majority of legal practice is way too boring to stir a moral objection in anyone

d34d9823
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby d34d9823 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:22 am

ComatoseClown wrote:Let's suppose an Associate fresh out of law school has begun employment with a firm, and soon enough he/she has been given an assignment that would honestly constitute a personal moral quandary for the Associate. Does he/she have the option to decline the assignment, on the grounds of his that the assignment "crosses the moral boundary" according to his/her personal beliefs/convictions?

I ask because I consider myself to have a stringent ethical base, and I think I may have an issue with defending "White Collar Crime" if I someday end up in law school and then as a lawyer. I'd be curious to any of your thoughts.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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profs<3mycomments
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby profs<3mycomments » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:31 am

I don't think OP should be laughed out of the room (especially by a bunch of 2Ls.) I'm sure this happens all the time and that whoever assigns work wouldn't be pissed or surprised. If you're writing off large portions of the available work it's going to be a problem, clearly. If you specifically asked not to be put on white collar and weren't a self-righteous spaz about it, you'd probably be fine absent a dire need or a really dickish firm.

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nealric
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby nealric » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:38 am

If you don't want to do white collar defense, you will have no problem avoiding it. It's a small niche practice anyways.

d34d9823
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby d34d9823 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:01 am

profs<3mycomments wrote:I don't think OP should be laughed out of the room (especially by a bunch of 2Ls.) I'm sure this happens all the time and that whoever assigns work wouldn't be pissed or surprised. If you're writing off large portions of the available work it's going to be a problem, clearly. If you specifically asked not to be put on white collar and weren't a self-righteous spaz about it, you'd probably be fine absent a dire need or a really dickish firm.

Not laughing 'cause it's not doable - you're probably right.

Laughing because professionals keep their heads down and do what's asked of them - something OP clearly hasn't experienced yet.

bmontminy
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby bmontminy » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:07 am

d34dluk3 wrote:
profs<3mycomments wrote:I don't think OP should be laughed out of the room (especially by a bunch of 2Ls.) I'm sure this happens all the time and that whoever assigns work wouldn't be pissed or surprised. If you're writing off large portions of the available work it's going to be a problem, clearly. If you specifically asked not to be put on white collar and weren't a self-righteous spaz about it, you'd probably be fine absent a dire need or a really dickish firm.

Not laughing 'cause it's not doable - you're probably right.

Laughing because professionals keep their heads down and do what's asked of them - something OP clearly hasn't experienced yet.


Yes, you sir are a superior 'professional' because you take orders well, and never questions the almighty source. I have no problem with authority, and do whats needed in the majority of circumstances, but to say/imply that it is laughable to question something you really feel is wrong, whatever it may be, makes you a douche...or a hitman and you just strolled onto the wrong forum...not certain.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby reasonable_man » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:10 am

Grow a sack. If you want to avoid moral quandaries... Take a job at romparoom supervising toddlers... Where you can exert moral exactitude in all cases. Once you move beyond pre-school, the lines of morality are forever blurred. Deal with it.

Thread/

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nealric
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby nealric » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:20 am

reasonable_man wrote:Grow a sack. If you want to avoid moral quandaries... Take a job at romparoom supervising toddlers... Where you can exert moral exactitude in all cases. Once you move beyond pre-school, the lines of morality are forever blurred. Deal with it.

Thread/


Lol. I heart RM.

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Veyron
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby Veyron » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:24 am

profs<3mycomments wrote:
NYAssociate wrote:Ummm... I don't think the OP is referring to immoral procedural acts, or complaining that a firm might make him club seals. It seems like he's complaining about representing clients whose acts he finds morally questionable.


but isn't there a difference between representing clients you find morally questionable and arguing that the morally questionable acts are not morally questionable?

For me (and maybe I'm naive) the day I defend an oil company against Nigerian villagers in a tort suit and GET AWARDED ATTORNEY'S FEES is the day I quit biglaw.


Oh good, that sounds like an interresting case. If you quit, I canz have yer jerb?

ScaredWorkedBored
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:31 am

1. No one accidentally winds up doing white collar criminal defense.

2. Once you go to law school, you'll take Professional Responsibilities a.k.a. ethics and be able to answer this question for yourself.

270910
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby 270910 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:39 am

reasonable_man wrote:Grow a sack. If you want to avoid moral quandaries... Take a job at romparoom supervising toddlers... Where you can exert moral exactitude in all cases. Once you move beyond pre-school, the lines of morality are forever blurred. Deal with it.

Thread/


RM for president of TLS!

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profs<3mycomments
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby profs<3mycomments » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:58 am

If you all don't have the same moral view as OP I'm don't have a problem with that, and if you think his moral stance is dumb and naive that's fine too, but if your attitude is that keeping your head down and abandoning your principles at the first sign of danger is what being an adult is all about, then it only takes a second to figure out who in the conversation needs to grow a pair.

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paratactical
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Re: Moral quandaries -- what if Associates face them @ firms?

Postby paratactical » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:00 pm

profs<3mycomments wrote:If you all don't have the same moral view as OP I'm don't have a problem with that, and if you think his moral stance is dumb and naive that's fine too, but if your attitude is that keeping your head down and abandoning your principles at the first sign of danger is what being an adult is all about, then it only takes a second to figure out who in the conversation needs to grow a pair.


I doubt your username is accurate.




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