Sunday, October 7, 2007
On Oct. 14-16, 2007, Hofstra will be holding a conference entitled "Lawyering at the Edge: Unpopular Clients, Difficult Cases, Zealous Advocates" and has invited Lynne Stewart to attend. Stewart was convicted of helping a terrorist client, the blind Egyptian Sheik Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel Raman, pass messages to his supporters. She was sentenced to 28 months in prison but is free pending appeal. She has also been disbarred. What a role model!! A New York Law Journal article about this conference provides in part:
"She's a case study on what happens when a lawyer oversteps their bounds," Hofstra Interim Dean Nora V. Demleitner said of Ms. Stewart in an interview. "The whole point of the entire panel is to get the students [and attendees] to ask tough questions like, would she do it the same way again, what if anything she would have done differently."
Overall, Ms. Demleitner said the speakers lined up by Roy D. Simon, the conference director and director of the school's Institute for Legal Ethics, will give attendees insight into most pressing ethical challenges facing advocates, including what happens when a lawyer goes astray.
"It really focuses on lawyers who have represented clients that are generally unpopular with zealous advocacy," said Mr. Simon. "The reason the legal system works . . . is because [lawyers] lend their talents to people with whom they often disagree."
As a graduate of Hofstra Law School myself, I must say that I am disappointed that Hofstra would give Ms. Stewart a forum to speak. Stewart was not acting as lawyer on the edge when she passed a note to a terrorist. Students do not need to see to see or hear a convicted criminal speak to learn that what she was wrong. Indeed, you do not even have to go to law school to know that! Stewart's attendance does nothing to further the legal profession or legal scholarship. I hope Hofstra's new interim Dean reconsiders.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein