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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Ethics of Being a Commentator

Today's NYT quoted Cheney Mason, one of the defense lawyers in the Casey Anthony case, who criticized commentators in the media: “I can tell you that my colleagues coast to coast and border to border have condemned this whole process of lawyers getting on television to talk about cases they don’t know a damn thing about.”

Are there ethical restraints on lawyers and law professors who comment on the controversies of the day?  Should there be?  What would be the appropriate ethical restraints?  How should they be enforced?  These are all good questions, made timely by today's headlines but relevant to past and future "trials of the century" and other important public controversies.

Our colleagues, Erwin Chemerinsky and Laurie Levenson, have explored these questions in a series of thoughtful articles culminating in The Ethics of Being a Commentator III, 50 Mercer L. Rev. 737 (1999).  A PDF is attached here: 50 Mercer L Rev 737.

These articles are must reading for any lawyer or law professor who is regularly appearing in the media to comment on the legal issues of the day.

Thomas E. Baker

Posted by Thomas Baker on July 6, 2011 at 10:59 AM | Permalink


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