Let Squawk Do The Job

The client is the job. Without the client, you are not an attorney. You are an unemployed person with an expensive law degree. You exist as a lawyer for the benefit of those whom you represent.

The job is taking care of the client. Not “social justice.” Not “justice.” Not even “clients.” The job is the client, singular. Usually, if you are a criminal-defense lawyer, the job is maximizing the client’s freedom.

If, in representing the client, you think for a moment about being guided by anything—the interests, for example, of society—other than the client’s interests you have a conflict of interest.

That’s not catastrophic. We often have conflicts of interest—sometimes I’d rather be reading a good book than writing a brief—and we resolve them in the client’s favor. Yes, Tai-Pan is engrossing, but the H.C.V. brief needs writing. So I write.

If you think it’s okay to put your own interests before your clients’ and, say, report a client to your boss for sexual harassment, you have no business representing human beings, much less human beings in extremis. And if you are a manager of lawyers and you think it’s okay for them to put their own interests before their clients that way, shame on you. You deserve ridicule.

My friend Appellate Squawk knows that the client is the job. And, practicing in a jurisdiction where management considers social justice, and especially “genderism” a higher end than the client’s freedom, she gives them what she deserves: She ridicules them.

One of the many annoyances of being accused of a crime is having to put up with humiliating questions from your lawyer. Like, “Was your grandmother a drug addict?” “When was the last time you had sex?” or “Do you hear voices?” [Correct answer: Yes, when people are talking].

But that’s nothing compared to what lawyers are supposed to ask now, based on the latest advances in client-centered embarrassment:

Unfortunately, while Squawk is anonymous, she isn’t anonymous enough for free speech. And those who elevate gender issues above all else happen to have no sense of humor when they are ridiculed:

OMG, the cries of “Homophobic!” “Racist!” “Heavy hearts, anger and anguish!” “Resistance to the Truth!” that went up from a claque of goodthink colleagues. Grievances! Complaints! Running to Mommy Management! Of course we support free speech, they harrumph, but not when it offends us!

Mommy Management, to its eternal shame, called Squawk on the carpet:

After an hour and a half, Barbie finally came clean and told us what she wanted us to admit: that a reasonable person could read our blog as saying that transgenders are “a myth.” We didn’t understand. They’re perfectly visible and tangible, how could they be a myth?

But now we get it. The blog expresses the dangerous, unacceptable notion that there could be times – for instance, when you’re accused of a crime or defending someone accused of a crime – that gender issues aren’t that important. Maybe we’re wrong, but to spend thousands of dollars to investigate us for saying so? Really

Really indeed.

Satire, by design, will disturb some people and amuse others. Those above the Sense-of-Humor Threshold for a satirical work will get the joke, and those below the SHT will take the satire seriously. Sometimes the joke falls flat, but even when satire hits its target, those below the SHT do not take it kindly.

It feels to them like a joke at their expense. (And it is, it is!) To those with a small sense of humor (usually correlate with a low IQ and self-righteousness) a “joke” at their expense is not a joke. And when humorlessness and managerial power and a budget all come together, they can get in the way of the job.

Squawk’s managers should seek to emulate Harris County Public Defender Alex Bunin, who is a great manager of criminal-defense lawyers because he gives his people the resources they need, fades the political heat for them, and lets them do the job. So should Squawk’s managers.

5 Comments

  1. About your idea that an attorney’s considering the good of society rather than the client’s interest creates a conflict of interest: are Texas lawyers required by law to be “mandated reporters” (e.g. notifying authorities if the attorney has reason to suspect the client commits child abuse)? I’m less interested in Texas law, easily searched, than I am in your opinion. I’m not a lawyer so the premise of this next question might be flawed: In Texas, do “officer of the court” obligations ever conflict with clients’ interests, and if so how should an attorney handle that conflict of interest?

    1. Yes, Texas lawyers are mandated reporters. And sure, other responsibilities can conflict with clients’ interests. Worst, mandated reporting can conflict with client confidentiality.

      A little forethought can generally prevent this.

  2. Aw, thanks.
    I believe PDs can do social justice, just never when that goal comes before any single client’s interest. I also believe satire is essential to social justice. Go Squawk!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *