"MALICE AFORETHOUGHT: How Lawyers Use Our Secret Rules To Get Rich, Get Sex, Get Even . . .And Get Away With It" by David W. Marston

"MALICE AFORETHOUGHT: How Lawyers Use Our Secret Rules To Get Rich, Get Sex, Get Even . . .And Get Away With It"

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Marston, a former US attorney who currently practices law in Philadephia, takes a disturbing, entertaining look at that apparent contradiction in terms: lawyers' ethics. Marston argues that a vast, clandestine cartel, members of which commit crimes on a giant scale, exerts a profound and pernicious influence over government, business, and the justice system. Is it the Mafia? No--it's the American Bar Association. The author contends that many lawyers routinely commit crimes (not only crimes related to a lawyer's fiduciary role like the commingling of clients' funds, but crimes involving guns and drugs), and that even lawyers who avoid criminal activity often violate the professional rules of ethics. With wryly amusing detail, he punctures lawyers' self-serving arguments, and marshals considerable evidence that lawyers use the arcane nature of legal practice to cheat their clients and thwart the objectives of justice. More distressing still is Marston's argument that the professional rules of ethics, if faithfully followed, often produce appalling results (as in the case of the defense lawyers for a murderer who refused to divulge the whereabouts of the victim's body to the victim's father, since doing so would violate a client confidence). Marston makes a persuasive case for regulation of the legal profession by the public, for public scrutiny of fee arrangements, and for a thorough rethinking of the premises of the professional rules of ethics themselves. A penetrating and diverting analysis of the many ethical problems confronting the legal profession, and a compelling argument for reform.

Pub Date: March 29th, 1991
Publisher: Morrow