In the Public Interest': The Responsibilities and Rights of Government Lawyers

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German Law Journal. Volume 10, Issues 6/7 (2009), p. 981-1000.


While considerable thought and effort has been put into exploring and fixing the ethical rights and professional responsibilities of private lawyers, little energy has been directed towards defining and defending the role and duties of government lawyers. As a result, the traditional understanding seems to be that government lawyers are to consider themselves as being under the same regimen and restrictions as their private counterparts. After criticizing this default approach, the article offers a fresh evaluation of what is different about the role of government lawyers and develops a more appropriate model for thinking about their professional responsibilities and ethical privileges. The central thrust of the article is the effort to appreciate legal ethics and professional responsibility as part of a larger democratic understanding of law and justice.

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