The Pursuit of a Client’s Interest

There has been recently a resurgence of interest in how the lawyer serves his client. Much of that interest has been occasioned by the indigestibility of the idea that the lawyer is, as it is said, a hired gun. There are those who think that instead the lawyer ought to act toward his client as a therapist. Others are concerned with rationalizing for the lawyer the ethical discomforts of servantship (which many might guess have been brought to the fore by Watergate). Yet others see the client as victim of a structure – represented by the lawyer – that frustrates his interests while appearing to further them. Whether the tragedy is personal or structural, whether the victim is the lawyer or the client, the character of the lawyer-client relation is a persistent issue. This paper is concerned with that relation. It was written while I was unaware of all this recent work on the subject. There are some losses as a result of that innocence; there are, however, enough advantages to justify my leaving the Article essentially as I wrote it. It would certainly have been more difficult to write and probably much longer, for no reason but ‘to inflate my ego or improve my image, had I been tempted to turn the Article into a contribution to a debate. It would also, I think, have been a worse Article. It has been hard enough to put together in straightforward fashion what I want to say. Equally important, the tone would have changed from meditation to argument. That, too, would have been a loss. We are dealing with’. the most difficult problems of the interior and virtuous life. Ethical dilemmas do not resolve under the assault of argument. We must speak more gently to the spirit. I have not found the way to score points gently.