and that this isn’t your blog post on rudeness in communications
Oh, it surely is, but lawyers are paid to be nasty to people who aren't their clients. Bit of a key distinction. That woman was being rude above and beyond the call of duty to someone who was complaining about the service received from that woman's business. Someone in a position to say the service received from the business was unacceptable. People don't review the services of lawyers based on being on the receiving end of a lawyer-gram.
You might care to reflect on how vile being exposed to action from a well-heeled litigant is for a journalist, especially one without an employer to protect them.
I don't particularly need you to explain to me about being on the wrong end of a massive power imbalance with legal consequences, Russell.
I'm sure some lawyers get a jolly from bullying people and hiding behind "the law" in doing so, but they still have to be instructed by a client before they take action. They don't just pick a victim at random and write a nasty letter, someone tells them to do so.
It is, of course, not beyond the bounds of possibility that some advisors’ advice downplays the potential reputational or other harm of taking action because there’s not much money to be made out of “just ignore it – trying to do anything will only make the situation worse”
Not to mention possible hubris on the part of the advisor and/or client, in terms of the "a lawyer-gram on Chen Palmer letterhead ought to scare the pants off'm" effect. A letter from a major firm carries more weight than the same words from Grabbit and Runne of Gore.
You ever faced the serious prospect of being financially and professionally destroyed, about a year out of journalism school, because you did you job?
And paw widdle Cwaigy was picked on by the nasty lawyers because they got his name out of a phone book? Fuck off. You pissed off the lawyers' clients (nice work, by the way, whatever it was you wrote), and that is why the lawyers' toolbox got opened.
Bitching about how nasty lawyers are makes it sound like they just randomly decide to send off a lawyer-gram for the hell of it.
for most jobs the “code of ethics” is the law.
Yet people feel quite entitled to talk down their noses about a profession that has both a statutory obligation to the law and to their clients, as well as a professional obligation to same. How's that work? What makes y'all so high and mighty and moral that you get to preach about lawyers?
And back to my slippery slope argument, yes, if we start saying that lawyers may only use the available tools that pass some arbitrary socially-prescribed morality sniff test it will end up with criminal defendants being denied representation because a lawyer could not do anything more than enter a plea on behalf of their client before the moral defenders of society's collective nose declared that the sniff test had been failed. Garth McThicker would be champing at the bit to lead that pack if there was the slightest possibility of its coming into being.
You know as a scientist I’m also bound by laws, if, like a lawyer, I assumed that anything not prevented by law was just hunky dory then there are a whole bunch of things I could do (legally) that would be morally indefensible.
You have a code of ethics, as do lawyers. I posted a link to the one that applies to lawyers in this country. It's pretty broad. Your ethical codes in science are much stricter. It's the way it is.
And for as long as the ultimate legal adversary is the State, with all its resources and powers, that's the way it needs to be.
In the case of the injunction against Native Affairs, the client’s interests were badly damaged by the action, because the required affidavits contained information that added to and supported Native Affairs’ report.
Sometimes you just have to give people the advice but know they'll still ignore it and insist on a particular course of action. Happens all the time in other fields of human endeavour so why should the law be any different?
changing seats to be easy access for confidential conversation.
I didn't find anything overly WTF or scandalous about that particular bit. If you're offering up the PM as an announced guest at an exclusive, expensive dinner you're going to find a way to let everyone who's there get a little bit of one-one-one time. It was all the other circumstances that lead up to that changing of seats that made me think the Maori Party is playing a very, very dangerous game. I don't recall Helen rubbing shoulders with any of the Maori Party's supporters over dinner.
Maybe its time for Lawyers to develop a moral/ethical framework then – otherwise they are just ‘guns for hire’, which is not what we should expect of professionals whose training has cost the public purse a lot of money
They have such a framework, Martin. There are both statutory obligations and professional ones, but both of them boil down to, pretty much, this: lawyers are officers of the court and that is their principle duty, but within the bounds imposed by that duty their highest obligation is to do all within their competence to represent their client's interests.
So, yes, they are guns for hire, and that's the way it is intended. They're bound by their duties to the law and their profession to represent their clients, and once you break that down it roughly means "You can't break the law or advise your client to break the law."
It's perfectly legal to send lawyer-grams that allege all kinds of malfeasance on the recipient's part, and if the client insists that they want said letter sent then the lawyer's only options are to send it or to refuse to continue as counsel. The solution to what happened here is to change our libel/defamation laws, not to say that there's something wrong with lawyers using the available tools to represent their clients. That's the start of a slope that ends with "He's clearly guilty, everyone knows it, so he's not entitled to a lawyer because a lawyer might just get him off."
We journalists can be annoying buggers.
It's what the news-consuming public want, if said public bother to think about it. Compliant, complicit, sycophantic "journalists" do your profession a disservice and also do a disservice to a society that requires the media to act as a check on those who stroll the corridors of power.