Lawyers Essay

2618 Words11 Pages
Introduction Lawyers’ duties are relevant not only to their clients, for there is also a “public interest that the duty should be performed” [1P3]. Lawyers are, in society, in the unique position of quasi-state actors. Although not formally part of the state, they are vital in the smooth operation of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government [1P3]. Several features of lawyers’ duties and responsibilities are distinct to the legal profession. The justification for such features resides in this function lawyers are required to perform in society. It is the vital nature of lawyers in society which provides the rationale for their unique position. The legal profession is largely self-governed [1P9]. In New Zealand, for instance, the New Zealand law society is responsible for regulating lawyers [Lawyers&Conveyancers Act]. One justification for this arrangement is that regulation of the profession requires the particular knowledge and expertise that is only held by those with legal training. Lawyers are also generally solely responsible for their own actions and decisions. Whereas professionals in other industries can, to some extent, sheet home responsibility to the organisation of which they are a part [1P10,11], lawyers have no such luxury. Several ethical theories put forth different conceptions of lawyers' duties. It is important to note, at the outset, that the following is not a discussion as to which of the ethical theories ought to guide lawyers' behaviour, but rather a consideration of which is the most consistent with lawyers' duties as laid down by the Rules contained within the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act. Lawyers are required to uphold particular professional standards. In New Zealand, ... ... middle of paper ... ... interest sufficiently. It is for this reason that responsible lawyering is not reflected in the rules of lawyers’ conduct laid down in New Zealand (or, indeed, in any common law country). Virtue Ethics This view takes the approach of focussing on characteristics rather than rules. On this view, it is those who possess desirable traits such as virtue and honesty, in addition to merely following the applicable rules and regulations, who are “good lawyers”.[1p63] That is, This approach is, to a large extent, aspirational. Ethics of Care Lawyer as counsellor Conclusion It would appear that a form of “moral pluralism” [2P8] is the answer. That is, none of the above theories is entirely consistent with lawyers’ duties, and each offers a useful vantage point for particular rules of conduct and client care.
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