Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Information

41 Vand. L. Rev. 697 (1988)


The dominant ethic in the American legal profession in 1988 is the adversary ethic. The adversary ethic, in the words of the late Justice Abe Fortas, claims that "[l]awyers are agents, not principals; and they should neither criticize nor tolerate criticism based upon the character of the client whom they represent or the cause that they prosecute or defend. They cannot and should not accept responsibility for the client's practices." This ethic is the principal—and often the only—reference point in professional discussions. Although it is embedded in our professional codes, our cases, and our law offices, this Article argues that the adversary ethic is unique, novel, and unsound.


Reprinted in The Virginia Lawyers Weekly p. 4, Jan. 23, 1989



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.