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Legal ethics; Lawyers; Law--Moral and ethical aspects


This essay considers whether there is a role for moral pluralism — or morality at all — in legal ethics thinking. In so doing, it has essentially two main goals. First, to contextualise the discussion, it very briefly looks at the leading conceptions of the lawyering role that have unsuccessfully grappled with the issue of morality and lawyering to-date. Second, and primarily, it looks at a new attempt to address these issues that is provided by Bradley Wendel in his recent book Lawyers and Fidelity to Law. This essay claims that while providing an elegant and admirable argument, Wendel’s book is ultimately an insufficient account of the lawyering role. Through this discussion, this essay provides a few comments on the author’s own theory of why the lawyering role must take into account some vision of the good (in addition to the right). And while notions of the good can include various aspects of justice, ethics, morality, religion, and so forth, the essay primarily looks at how the lawyering role must take into account something more than law (contemplated by the right), which — for the sake of simplicity — amounts to something akin to a sense of morality that is animated by visions of justice.