Patterico's Pontifications


Miers: How to Fight Those Lawyer-Bashing Republicans

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 9:19 pm

From a January 1993 article in the Texas Bar Journal by Harriet Miers:

In his October [1992] Opinion in this Journal my colleague, TYLA President Steve Martin, artfully assailed the Republican administration for seizing “the perceived low public regard for lawyers to fashion a campaign strategy based on the disparagement of lawyers.” Lawyers, in large number, want the State Bar and other organizations to “fight back.”

(My emphasis.)

The rest of the article is devoted to explaining how the State Bar can help find an “antidote” for “lawyer bashing.”

Damn lawyer-bashing Republicans!

3 Responses to “Miers: How to Fight Those Lawyer-Bashing Republicans”

  1. There is much cynical manipulation of this issue on both sides of the political aisle. Just as a John Edwards exaggerates the evils of corporate America to make his populist pitch (in which plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers are defenders of truth, justice, and the American way), so too have Republicans, including but not limited to the President, have indeed methodically over-generalized about the evils of the “trial lawyers” (a misappellation I deeply resent). The one sure thing from the hue and cry between the two sides in this debate is that the legal profession does indeed take a beating in the eyes of the public, which holds it in low esteem anyway.

    We deserve much of that, although not necessarily for any of the reasons either side harps about. But having worked on both the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ sides of the personal injury bar, and likewise on both sides of the commercial litigation bar, and being something of an oxymoron myself (a “conservative trial lawyer”), I don’t get too perturbed at the public opinion polls. Having done this for 25 years now, I realize that the people who count most to me — my clients — are going to make up their minds about me based on my performance on their behalf, not on what John Edwards or George W. Bush say about my profession.

    Ms. Miers, though, was speaking and writing from a position within an organized body representing all lawyers in Texas — from big cities and small towns, on both sides of the PI bar, criminal and civil, adversary and office practice. And it was part of her job description to look for ways to improve the image of lawyers generally. Her statement that large numbers of lawyers, less jaded and self-confident than I am, wanted the Bar to fight back was literally true.

    Now, I haven’t tracked down the rest of the article, but am I correct in guessing that the “antidotes” she prescribed were dissemination of factually accurate information to the public, redoubling our devotion to pro bono and other public service, and conforming our conduct to actually merit the public’s trust? Do you have any philosophical objection to those sorts of things?

    In any event, if her comment about the Republicans was a slight — I’m not sure that it is, since the Republicans have indeed been promoting the lawyer-bashing, the Democrats bash others — then Dubya rather seems to have forgiven her for it. And as you’ve often said, my friend, in other contexts — what has this to do with what kind of Justice she will become? Not very much, I think.

    Beldar (a3c7f5)

  2. My editing is going to hell in a handbasket. Apologies for the garbled sentences, but you’ll probably catch my drift.

    Beldar (a3c7f5)

  3. I included the link to the article, which I inadvertently omitted when I published the post.

    Patterico (4e4b70)

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