Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Posted by Alan Childress
Steven Lubet (Northwestern) has just published his NYU Press book, The Importance of Being Honest: How Lying, Secrecy, and Hypocrisy Collide with Truth in Law. Here is an initial review from Publishers' Weekly:
Lubet, a law professor at Northwestern (Lawyers Poker: 52 Lessons That Lawyers Can Learn from Card Players) tackles a series of subtle and thorny ethical questions that lawyers and judges face each day. These questions can challenge their integrity, determine their effectiveness and affect how the public views the legal profession. Lubet chooses a few notorious examples to showcase his points, such as the ethical questions raised by Supreme Court Justice Scalia's duck-hunting trip with Vice President Cheney (should the justice have recused himself in Sierra Club v. Cheney?) and Bill Clinton's infamous Monica Lewinsky deposition (did he lie to his lawyer?).
Many of Lubet's examples are about less public conundrums, such as what lawyers should do if they make a mistake and the problem of judicial bullies. Lubet's central concern, which he mines adeptly, is with actions that are arguably legal but may also be strategically or morally wrong. Lubet's writing is a great strength: straightforward, funny, intelligent and devoid of legalese. Like a good color analyst, he conveys an insider's knowledge in an entertaining and informative way.
I am also looking forward to the expert comments on the book which David McGowan promises on Legal Ethics Forum.