Friday, February 27, 2015

The Passing Of A Giant

The legal ethics community is learning of the death of Monroe H. Freedman.

Monroe is a shining light that inspired generations of lawyers to treat ethics as a central part of their professional lives and a subject of serious scholarly study.

He also was an iconoclast who was not cowed by the power of the judiciary and the entrenched Bar.

This tribute by Ralph J. Temple, Monroe Freedman and Legal Ethics: A Prophet in his Own Time, rings true today as when it was written

The rules of ethics applicable to a number of today's critical ethical issues evolved from Freedman's creative thinking and advocacy. This is a fact that is easily overlooked, because some of his once controversial positions are now widely accepted...

 No writer or thinker in the field of legal ethics has articulated with such clarity and 'power the vital constitutional, moral, and philosophical values inherent in lawyers' ethics. His innovative views-often initially dismissed by the established bar only to be later accepted- have justly had the greatest impact on legal ethics in our time.

If there is a Mount Rushmore for legal ethicists, Monroe is on it along with my own mentor Father Robert Drinan.

He will be missed, but lives on in the lawyers and teachers that he trained and inspired. (Mike Frisch)

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