The Warrior Lawyer

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Long title: 
Legal Ethics in an Adversarial Age: The Case for the Warrior Lawyer
Author(s): 
Hutchinson, Allan C.
Author(s)' contact information: 
Osgoode Hall Law School, Canada
Conference title: 
International Legal Ethics Conference VI
Conference location: 
City University London
Country: 
Canada
Year: 
2014

There have been a number of recent and exciting interventions in the continuing debate over what it means to be ‘an ethical lawyer’. These range from the conceptual to the empirical and from the descriptive to the prescriptive. While there is much to be gained from all these contributions, there is a marked tendency throughout to hide or overlook some of the more fundamental assumptions on which particular initiatives and proposals are founded. In particular, scholars blow hot and cold on the existence, role, and importance of the adversarial system in crafting the professional duties and ethical obligations of lawyers. While some seem to ignore these issues, others place too much reliance upon them. In this paper, I intend to make a more overt and dynamic connection between lawyers’ professional ethics and the legal system’s adversarial ethics. In so doing, I will recommend a more compelling image of ethical lawyers within the constraints and opportunities of adversarial ethics. The connecting trope of the paper will be the shift in professional image from ‘hired-gun’ to ‘warrior’ and all that this entails. Throughout the paper, there will be an emphasis on how it is not so much that lawyers must be adversaries that is the central problematic, but more how lawyers can be adversaries and still meet a high standard of ethical behaviour.

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