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40 S. Tex. L. Rev. 41 (1999)


Why is anything of real concern to any of us? Because, besides our simply emotional motives, we have reasons for action (which may be supported or opposed by our emotions). What are reasons for action? Some are instrumental, means to further ends: I have reason to start reading this paper to you, and you had reason to come back into the room to hear it. What reasons? Well, doing so is my contribution to this symposium's reflection on its subject-matter. That reflection, in turn, is intended to be instrumental in promoting a wider and deeper understanding of an important set of practical issues about life in interaction with other persons; and perhaps also instrumental in pursuing other ends such as professional qualification or advancement, consolidating the scholarly profile of the College, and/or celebrating—i.e., collectively acknowledging, reflecting on, and reaffirming—75 years of the College's collaborative educational and professional enterprise. And other reasons could easily be identified.

This paper offers some rather fundamental reflections on the common good, in the hope of articulating clearly (albeit very briefly) what seem to me the deepest principles of "legal ethics," so that their philosophical seriousness, their intrinsic interconnections with each other, and their solid warrant in the face of skeptical doubts can be made a little more apparent than is usually attempted. It seeks to illuminate the senses in which the rules of professional conduct are, in the words of the introductory statement of the scope of the ABA's Model Rules, "rules of reason." Its consideration of those rules will not, of course, be complete; it will focus mainly on rules concerned with truth and falsity. Even the most pragmatic professionals among us are persons who have, or have had, critical questions about the ultimate worth and good sense of our profession's governing rules and standards.


Reprinted with permission of South Texas Law Review.



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