Response to Steven Lubet: A Reaction: “Stand Up, Your Father [A Lawyer] is Passing”

Professor Steven Lubet’s review examines in the lawyering context the truth of Due de La Rochefoucauld’s observation that “[o]ur virtues are mostly but vices in disguise.” His question – one going to the very heart of what lawyering is about – asks readers of To Kill a Mockingbird whether they would be equally prepared to accept the fictional Atticus Fmch as the personification of the good lawyer if his black client, defendant Tom Robinson, actually committed the rape of the white woman, Mayella Ewell, for which he was charged. If Robinson was a rapist, how then does one square Atticus’s aggressive blame-the-victim defense with his heroic, defender-of-the-innocent personae? Asked this way, the issue is essentially the one posed rhetorically some time ago by Professor Wasserstrom: Why is it so plausible to talk about the amorality of the lawyer who represents all clients irrespective of their moral character?