A Lawyer's Prayer
There is a famous lawyer's prayer that I love. It captures much of the unique ethical obligation of the attorney, and I thought I'd share just one small part of it with you today. We pray that:
For the glory of God an in the pursuit of His justice,
I may be trustworthy with confidences,
keen in study, accurate in analysis,
correct in conclusion, able in argument,
loyal to clients, honest with all,
courteous to adversaries, and ever attentive to conscience.
These are modest, basic qualities that every lawyer must have. In fact, they match up closely with the ethical rules governing the profession:
- trustworthy with confidences, Rule 1.6
- keen in study, Rule 1.3
- acurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, Rule 3.1
- able in argument, Rule 1.1
- loyal to clients, Rules 1.7-1.15, 1.18
- honest with all, Rules 3.3, 4.1, 4.3, 4.4, 7.1, 8.1
- courteous to adversaries, Rules 3.4, 4.2
Where the prayer falls short is in leaving out the duty of every attorney under Rule 6 to represent
persons of limited means either directly or through representation of
organizations in matters that are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means. This is one way in which the lawyer lives out the preferential option for the poor. In fact, lawyers have a special role in every aspect of Christian social teaching. But that is a topic for another day.
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