The State of the Union under a failed Constitution.
The need for public opinion to support the removal of lawyers from elective office.1 The issue of unfitness of lawyers for elective office. The corruption of the legal profession as a whole. (Part 3 of 4)2 The Empirical Approach.3 (cont'd)
2. The worldwide condemnation of lawyers as corrupt.
The New Testament: A substantial majority of the people
of the United States call themselves Christians. To them the New
Testament is the Gospel and Jesus Christ is the son of God. The words
spoken in the New Testament by Jesus are believed to be the word of
God. St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John were the four
Apostles who authored the New Testament and recorded the words of Jesus
Christ. Let us see what the St. James version of the New Testament
tells us that Jesus said about lawyers, scribes and Pharisees almost
2000 years ago:
But woe unto you scribes (lawyers) and Pharisees,4
hypocrites, for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye
neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to
go in! For you devour widow's houses, and for a pretence (sic) make
long prayer; therefore you shall receive the greater damnation. .. For
you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye
make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves... -- Matthew 23:13-15
Beware of the scribes... which devour widow's houses, and for a
pretence make long prayers: these shall receive the greater
damnation... -- Mark 12:38-41
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you make clean
the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are filled
with extortion and excess. -- Matthew 23:25 In these
comments Jesus Christ condemns lawyers as fit for hell, not heaven; as
corrupt men who spread their corruption to others; as hypocrites who
say one thing and do another; and as robbers.
The world is full of literary references to lawyers as hypocritical, dishonest and corrupt. Here are a few examples:
The lawyer... has become keen and shrewd... but his soul is small and dangerous. Plato - Theatetus at 172-173.
First, my Lawyer being practiced almost from his cradle in defending
falsehoods is quite out of his element when he would be an advocate for
Justice... Jonathan Swift -Gulliver's Travels, Part IV. A Voyage to the Houyhnhms.
Suffer any wrong that can be done you, rather than come here. (Referring to the English High Court of Chancery Bar) - Charles Dickens - Bleak House, Chapter 1, (1853)
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. William Shakespeare - The Second Part of King Henry the Sixth. Act IV, Scene 2.5
I think we may class the lawyer in the natural history of monsters. John Keats
There are derogatory jokes about lawyers in many of the world's
languages. Everywhere the legal profession has left a trial of tears.6
3. Evidence by American lawyers showing how lawyers cheat their clients and other wrongdoing.
There is an abundance of evidence in the form of books written by
American lawyers about the dishonesty of their brethren. Here are a few
How lawyers screw their clients. by Donald E. de Kieffer.7
Barricade Books Inc. 1995
Mr. Kieffer describes in detail the manner in which lawyers 'overbill'
(a euphemism for stealing) their clients. He explains that the pressure
to 'overbill' is so unrelenting and the penalties for not doing so are
so severe, that moral rot is inevitable.
No Contest. (Corporate lawyers and the perversion of justice in America) by Ralph Nader8 and Wesley J. Smith, Random House, 1996, ISBN 0-679-42972-7
- Lawyers and painters can soon change white to black. Danish proverb.
- Win your lawsuit, lose your money. Spanish proverb.
- 'One thing I supplicate, your majesty; that you will give
orders, under a great penalty, that no bachelors of law should be
allowed to come here (to the New World); for not only are they bad
themselves, but they also make and contrive a thousand iniquities.' Vasco Nunez de Balboa to King Ferdinand V of Spain, 1513.
- I don't think you can make a lawyer honest by an act of the
legislature. You've got to work on his conscience. And his lack of
conscience is what makes him a lawyer. Will Rogers
The authors describe in detail the 'evil' of corporate lawyers
unethically and illegally using the law to advance corporate interests
and their own. They call the sinners, the corporate legal
establishment. Yet the condemnation of trial lawyers who prey on
corporations and individuals under color of law, is very widespread.
There is truth to both views. Nader's book is a case of the pot calling
the kettle black.
Lawyers and thieves by Roy Grutman9 and Bill Thomas, Simon & Schuster, 1990, ISBN 0-671-66960-5, traces the growth of American legal greed.
Running from the law by Deborah L. Arron,10
Ten Speed Press, 1989, ISBN 0-89815-413-8, describes the reaction of
those in the profession who can least stand its absence of ethics. They
tend to leave the profession, even though that often means a
substantial reduction in income. Arron quotes Schaef and Fasel in the Addictive Organization as saying that a closed system which uses denial as its major defense mechanism will 'lose its best people'.
The Soul of the Law by Benjamin Sells11,
Element Books Inc. 1994, ISBN 1-85230-796-X, writes of the severe
distress caused by the pressure on lawyers of the prevalent ethos in
the profession. In areas of dissatisfaction and stress, lawyers
generally rank higher than all other professions. A full third of
lawyers suffer from either clinical depression or substance abuse or
both, highest in a survey of 105 professions. 28% of male lawyers and
41% of female lawyers said they were dissatisfied with their work. That
is double the 1984 figures and shows that things are getting steadily
Many other books have been written recently criticizing prevalent practices of American lawyers. Here are the titles to a few: The American Moralist: On Law, Ethics and Government (1992), George Anastaplo, A Nation under Lawyers, (1994) by Mary Ann Glendon, The Death of Common Sense by Philip K. Howard, The Lost Lawyer, (1993), by Anthony Kronman, The Betrayed Profession, (1994), by Sol M. Linowitz.
4. Acknowledgment by the leadership of the legal profession of its corruption.
There have always been men of integrity in the legal profession
among whom the most likely critics of the profession will be found. Of
late the increased awareness by the world and the profession that
something is drastically wrong has led to a particular theory. That
theory seems to find its clearest expression in the work of Harrison J.
Sheppard, a lawyer practicing in San Francisco. He is a Fellow of the
American Bar Foundation, and a member of the State Bar of California.
His views are the closest the profession has come to publicly
acknowledging its problems.12 Mr. Sheppard presents his
perception of the problem and potential solutions. His view of the
existence of the problem is understated but accurate. Unfortunately his
perception of the cause and therefore the solutions is not.13 Of the problem Mr. Sheppard says the following:
My experience as a lawyer,... have led me to conclude that our
typical professional practices do not serve our clients or the general
public nearly as well as they should, that commonly expressed criticisms of lawyers have a sound basis in fact;
and that the every day pressures of the practice of law have led many
lawyers to forget the significance of their oath to support the
Constitution and the law of the United States and this State, with potentially serious consequences for our democratic society. (Emphasis added)
5. Anecdotal evidence of the widespread corruption of the legal profession.
6. The absence of any material rebuttal by the legal profession.
To all of the above accusations and the abundance of evidence that the
legal profession is corrupt, the profession offers rebuttals without
merit. These are:
- A 1993 survey of the State Bar of California showed that Americans rate members of the American profession last in honesty and integrity among all the honored professions.
- A 1993 survey by the American Bar Association indicated that
the more contact people have with lawyers the less they trust them. In
other words those who know them don't trust them and those who trust them don't know them.
- The Watergate scandal that disgraced the Nixon administration
involved criminal wrongdoing by many people at the top levels of
government. It is reported that 21 out of the 23 men convicted of
criminal behavior were lawyers! Among them were John Mitchell, Attorney
General of the United States, John Dean , counsel to the President,
Ehrlichman, Colson, and many others. Nixon's vice-president, Spiro
Agnew, was also convicted of criminal behavior on a separate matter.
- Dan Rostenkowski, a lawyer and former Speaker of the House,
is in prison at this writing for criminal behavior while in office. Mr.
Jim Wright, a lawyer and formerly Speaker of the House, had to resign
in disgrace to avoid criminal prosecution.
- The President of the United States, Mr. Bill Clinton, a
lawyer and a former university professor of constitutional law, is
being sued by one Paula Jones, for sexual misconduct while Governor of
the State of Arkansas. He is also facing potential criminal charges on
unresolved Whitewater allegations, as well as potential illegal
campaign funds solicitations.
- There are citizen's organizations arising all over the United
States attempting to cope with the perceived corruption of lawyers in
many different fields.14
- This writer submitted a study to the Florida Supreme Court in
1989, which provided conclusive statistical evidence that Florida Bar
dismissal of citizens' complaints could not have resulted by chance,
but had to have resulted from wrongdoing.15
- Operations Courtbroom in Miami, and Greylord in Chicago are
two examples of corruption reaching into the very courtrooms of the
- Random acts of violence against lawyers, in apparent retaliation for their perceived corruption, is growing in this land.
What the profession has never done
is either specifically rebut in writing any of the many volumes of work
done by its own people condemning the integrity of the profession, or
agree to publicly debate the issues with its principal critics. The
evidence suggests that the legal profession cannot do the former and
will not do the latter.17
- The unsupported assertion that 'the American legal system' is the
best in the free world, notwithstanding all the evidence that suggests
it is much closer to being the worst.
- The assertion that 'there are rotten apples in every barrel'
and the false implication that the legal profession's rotten apples are
no more numerous than those in other professional barrels.
- Unsuccessful attempts to discredit critics by ad hominem and other Aristotelean false argument attacks.
4720 NW 2 Ave, Suite D-107
Boca Raton, Fl 33431
Internet address: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author: This writer is a constitutional
scholar who wrote Federalists 86 through 98, in defense of the
Constitution. He is like Madison, a non lawyer and like Hamilton an
immigrant and naturalized American.
- See Federalist 96 by this writer.
- This paper and Federalists 97, 98 and 100, should be read as four parts of a single unit.
- See Federalists 97/98 on the question of rationalism versus empiricism.
- Lawyers, scribes and Pharisees are the Biblical words used for the lawyers of those days.
Lawyers: Luke's words for scribes, (Luke 11:45), who gave themselves
to meticulous and dedicated study of the law. Many were Pharisees, but
membership was not essential to the professional legal qualifications.
Scribes were students and expositors of the law , whereas Pharisees
were concerned with people's performance of the law. Oxford Dictionary of the Bible, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-211691-6
- These words are spoken by a participant in Jack Cade's revolt
in the year 1450, against tyranny in England. Cade is a historical
figure who achieved some temporary success in the reduction of tyranny
in England. The extreme words: 'Kill all the lawyers',
expresses a common frustration felt by the average Englishman with the
corruption of lawyers and the legal system at that time.
- Obviously there are some good things that lawyers have done
as well as many honest lawyers. However, when the overwhelming public
impression is that lawyers are corrupt, the only conclusion that is
supported by that evidence, is that the lawyer activities are all too
often detrimental to the Nations they inhabit.
- Mr. Kieffer is a partner in the Washington D.C., firm of de
Kieffer, Dibble and Horgan, and has authored more than 200 articles and
written 5 books. He served as general counsel to the Office of the
United States Trade Representative in the Reagan Administration.
- Ralph Nader is a nationally known consumer advocate attorney and Presidential candidate in 1996.
- Roy Grutman is a well known trial lawyer who has represented
Bob Guccione, Jerry Falwell, and Jackie Collins, among other celebrity
- Deborah Arron graduated from UCLA school of law in 1975 and
practiced law as a civil litigator until 1985. She has since 'run from
the law' herself, having closed her practice and turned to helping
other lawyers to also 'run from the law.'
- Benjamin Sells is a Chicago psychotherapist, lawyer and syndicated newspaper columnist.
- Privately there are a great many lawyers who will confirm their experiences with corrupt colleagues.
- The problem as presented does not identify constitutional
violations as the cause. The solutions presented call for the teaching
of civility and non adversarial problem resolution to the profession.
That will not work. This writer will address these issues in Federalist
101. Mr. Sheppard's analysis is well intentioned but misguided.
- This writer is aware of no other free world country where such activity exists at all.
- The Court never responded.
- These names refer to the uncovering and conviction of criminal
wrongdoing by a cabal of judges in both cities. It is probable that
such criminal behavior is only the tip of the iceberg.
- For it is said that it is better to say nothing and be thought corrupt, than to debate the issue and remove all doubt.