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15 St. Thomas L. Rev. 469 (2002-2003)


Legal ethics is about injustice. My effort here is part of the broad, modern academic enterprise, and of the broad, modern professional enterprise now usually called professional responsibility. Both date from the Watergate scandal in the administration of President Richard M. Nixon, and the rejection, by legal academics and practicing lawyers, of the behavior of the President and other lawyers in that affair. Our modern enterprise, like the biblical Exodus, was born in outrage at the abuse of legal power.

In university law schools such as this one, legal ethics is now a discipline characterized by schools of thought on ways to be a lawyer and a good person, both at the same time. The school of thought I belong to answers the question theologically: the way to be a lawyer and a good person, both at the same time, in teaching or writing about or practicing law is to be, at the same time, a Jew faithful to Torah, a Christian who follows Jesus. The present project explores such an undertaking with reference to the prophets of Hebrew Scripture—Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Amos, Ezekiel, and the rest.

I argue that the Hebrew Prophets, these biblical prophets, are sources of legal ethics and of jurisprudence for Jews and Christians. As I try to persuade you of that, I want also to make the suggestion that the biblical prophets were lawyers more than anything else.


Reprinted with permission of St. Thomas Law Review.



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