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Honor As a Deficient Aspiration For "The Honorable Profession": The Lawyer as Nostromo

Submitted by Joe Hoffman on Tue,10/11/2009
Author(s)
Cochran, Robert F. Jr.
Author(s)' contact information

Publication
Fordham Law Review
Volume number
69
Year
2000
First page number
859
Country
United States
Abstract
This essay considers the strengths and weaknesses of honor as an aspiration for lawyers and the legal profession through a look at Joseph Conrad's character "Nostromo." Though Nostromo is not a lawyer, he can teach us much about lawyers. Like most lawyers, Nostromo used his talents in the service of the wealthy. One of his "clients" gave him his nickname, "Nostromo," a corruption of the Italian for "our man." The initial mystery of Nostromo is why Nostromo was so loyal to his clients. Like many lawyers, Nostromo was driven by a desire for honor. Another mystery of Nostromo is why he fell so far, so fast. Like too many lawyers, he went from being the "tried and trusty Nostromo" to being a thief. Nostromo teaches the dangers of building a life (or a profession) on the pursuit of honor. The essay explores several aspects of honor: its history as an ethic, its strengths and weaknesses as a motivator to good behavior, its relationship to character, its moral baggage, and its relationship to material interests.
Available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=265995