What Is the Essential Nature of the Role Performed by Lawyers?
Whereas in the Charter of the United Nations the peoples of the world affirm, inter alia , their determination to establish conditions under which justice can be maintained, and proclaim as one of their purposes the achievement of international cooperation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.
A lawyer may perform various functions. As advisor, a lawyer provides a client with an informed understanding of the client's legal rights and obligations and explains their practical implications. As advocate, a lawyer zealously asserts the client's position under the rules of the adversary system. As negotiator, a lawyer seeks a result advantageous to the client but consistent with requirements of honest dealing with others. As intermediary between clients, a lawyer seeks to reconcile their divergent interests as an advisor and, to a limited extent, as a spokesperson for each client. As third party neutral, a lawyer represents neither party, but helps the parties arrive at their own solution. As evaluator, a lawyer examines a client's legal affairs and reports about them to the client or to others. In all professional functions a lawyer should be competent, prompt and diligent. A lawyer should maintain communication with a client concerning the representation. A lawyer should keep in confidence information relating to representation of a client except so far as disclosure is required or permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.
Why do we need normative orderers, or specialists who create, interpret, apply, and enforce rules and principles that enable people to work together? The answer, if it does not come from human nature since time immemorial, certainly comes from features of American life with which everyone is familiar. In American life, since at least the Constitution’s framing, conflict among factions and groups in our society is inevitable. James Madison, writing in The Federalist Papers, Number Ten, stated that “divisions” among people, which he famously referred to as “factions,” derive from human nature. (Robert C. Clark) Madison delineated two types of factions: (1) factions of passion that ivide people by their deepest principles, religious beliefs, and morals, and (2) factions of interest that divide people according to their line of work, wealth, and expectations in society. According to Madison, factions are “sown into the nature of man.” (James Madison)The notion that society needs normative ordering simply recognizes the irreducible fact that in human society conflict arises among groups organized in overlapping ways by passion and interest. Society needs to find ways to coordinate people’s activities across that conflict.
In brief, with the increasing number of alternative methods available to those needing legal advice, the constant influx of graduates choosing to enter the legal profession, the declining demand for applicants and the increased constraints on our finances, ‘the market will determine that the legal world is over-resourced.’ It will ‘increasingly drive out inefficiencies and unnecessary friction and, in so doing, we will indeed witness the end of outdated legal practice and the end of outdated lawyers.’ Conclusively, in order for those within the legal profession to safeguard their jobs, they must focus less on maintaing their ‘fat cat’ status and focus more on providing the services that people need at a reasonable cost.
Robert C. Clark, Why So Many Lawyers? Are They Good or Bad?, 61 FORDHAM L. REV. 275, 281 (1992).
THE FEDERALIST NO. 10, at 57 (James Madison) (Jacob E. Cooke ed., 1961).