The ethical lawyer: a contradiction in terms

From the Law Gazette 23/11/09:

The earliest surviving records of medieval principles of ethical conduct for lawyers concern the advocates and proctors who appeared before the church courts. One very early record is a book written in 1239 by William of Drogheda, an Oxford priest and lawyer, advising the reader how to be a successful advocate. The text reveals something of an ironic disconnect between the ethical standards of these two professions on the important subject of remuneration: the author recommends that advocates should ensure payment in advance – 'Get your money while the patient is ill.'

For those who mistakenly thought that the legal profession has only recently given cause for garnering a reputation of consisting solely of ruthless, money-grapping, Machiavellian chancers.


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