Posted by: scottishboomerang | December 7, 2007

We’ll call him Professor Obi-Won Kenobi

… and he was my Professional Responsibility profession during my first year at HILS. Although I wasn’t on the JD, I took the legal ethics class because of my academic interest in ethics and how it was to be practically applied in the practice of law. Anyway, Professor Kenobi  was just the man to show us how to Use the Force and not be sedduced by the Dark Side. 

 As well as being a very able Florida lawyer, (and anyone who has ever approached the Miami Equity Courts will tell you what an awful job lawyering in them can be), he was also a revivialist pastor, and a good man. (Myself, I do not automatically assume that “holy orders” (or whatever Orders that protestant pastors take) should be automatically associated with personal holiness, but any fool could see that Prof. Kenobi  was a great human being. With more than a passing resemblance to Alec Guiness.

Handong is a very difficult place to study (I won’t go into it right now) but one thing that they are very good at is linking one’s moral compass with one’s career choices. In short, we were taught, in no uncertain terms, that swindling widows and orphans and moving our neighbours boundry stones – or any other abuse of a lawyer’s power – would not only result in a professional investiation by the State Bar Assicicotion, accompanied by a Malpractice Suit, but would also be likely to have us quaking before the throne of Almighty on the Day of Judgement. I conclude that there’s nothing wrong with a bit of conservative fire and brimstone as long as you don’t play with matches. 

Professor Kenobi firmly and gently took us through all those dirty tricks that bad lawyers have got caught doing and point out what would happen to us if we ever attempted the same. He also, interestingly, warned us to be on the lookout for sleaze-bag supervisors and bosses who may try to manipulate young and inexpereinced lawyers into wrongdoing to take the fall for them when the ABA did in fact investigate there wrongdoings.   Prof. Kenobi was worth his weight in platinum as a teacher and I’m sorry he’s no longer teaching at HILS. 

I wonder though, what Prof. Kenobi would say about BabyBarista, a junior Sith down at the Inns of Court in London. Blogging under this witty nom de plume about his experiences first as a trainee Barrister (or Pupil ) and then as a Juniour Tennant at one of the London chambers. 

Anyhow, BabyBarrista’s accounts of training in to be a officer of the oldest common-law legal system in the world are rather harrowing reading for anyone with a mortal soul.  His accounts are apparently “fictional”, but I think “fictionalised” is probably a nearer the mark – and too close to the aforesaid mark for BabyB to use his real name.  What a gem his blog is, all that truth dressed (sometimes only in a bikini) up to look like fiction with the odd cliched legal urban legend thrown in just to throw us off the scent. But if you were ever wondering why macho countries like Colombia can have many more brown, black and female judges on the bench than the UK, read no further that BabyB.  Flinch in horror as BabyB and nearly all his friends and enemies breach the ethics codes and bend the rules an hope to high heaven – excuse my French – that they don’t get caught. BabyB, by agressive, underhanded machellvelian tactics got rid of all contenders for his tennancy (place in Chambers, which is to Barristers what a law firm is to attorneys).  The female pupils stupidly leaned on their friend BabyB for emotional support only for him to use that against them.

I wonder what Professor Kenobi would have to say about Baby B and his ilk? I am begining to suspect that Professional Responsibility and Legal Ethics is taken a bit more seriously at HILS than elsewhere. Elsewhere, the course should probably be entitled “How to Do What We Know You Are Going To Do With Respect To The Swindling Of Widows & Orphans And Covert Displacement of Boundry Stones While At the Same Time  Avoiding  Malpractice Suits, Criminal Prosecution, Bar Disciplinary Hearings, Drive-bys & Death Squads”.  

The thing is – and this my 30 short years have shown me – is that poor ethics is always more expensive in the end, even if you don’t believe in the Ultimate Tribunal, though it troubles me that the likes of BabyBarrista may get in to heaven on a technicality.

Got a light, M’Learned Friend?


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