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Monday, April 13, 2015

Vischer on Big Law and the Marriage Cases

My friend and colleague (and legal-ethics scholar) Rob Vischer has a thoughtful post, "Law Firms, Marriage, and Moral Accountability," over at Mirror of Justice, in which he addresses Adam Liptak's piece in Sunday's New York Times ("The Case Against Gay Marriage:  Top Lawyers Won't Touch It").  Like Rob, I think it's unlikely that Evan Wolfson's explanations for the phenomenon Liptak describes -- i.e., that there are no arguments to be made in support of Judge Sutton's decision and/or that Big Law attorneys and firms shy away from paying cases if they think they are probably going to lose -- are the correct ones.  I imagine that, instead, the economics-and-public-relations considerations that Liptak describes are doing most of the work.  That said, Vischer also notes an interesting connection between the ongoing debates about religion-and-morality-in-business (see, e.g., Hobby Lobby) and the questions about the extent to which lawyers and law firms should exercise moral judgment, or act in accord with an animating vision, mission, or ethos, when accepting or declining representation.  Check it out.   

Posted by Rick Garnett on April 13, 2015 at 11:17 AM in Rick Garnett | Permalink


A commenter on another blog pointed out that this is not about representing a client, but about supporting a law. He used the analogy that many law firms might represent neo-Nazis in a free speech case, but would not take their case in support of racial laws.

Posted by: Barry | Apr 14, 2015 1:28:25 PM

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