Philosophy Sample Paper
I disagree with the argument that the lawyer can achieve the objective of being both a friend and a lawyer. It seems easy that all the lawyer needs to do is to establish a professional relationship with clients by ensuring that he never discusses legal matters away from the office unless a meeting is arranged. However, this is a difficult thing to do particularly when it viewed from the perspective of true friendship. True friendship calls for openness, sharing of secrets, and even the crossing of professional boundaries to discuss issues that may be prohibited in the legal practice. I dispute this traditional notion because it overlooks the power of friendship even in the face of compelling arguments regarding the need for legal practitioners to draw a line between professional and social lives.
To demonstrate this point, I would like to highlight the case of Steven Wesserman, a defense attorney in New York City, who grappled with the question of moral responsibility when acting as an advocate for Sam, a 21 year-old man who was charged with rape in a court of law. In this case, Wesserman (2010) admits that if he was close friends with Sam, he may have considered influencing him to confess his guilt and instead focus on pleading for a lenient sentence. However, this would be an unprofessional course of action because the defense attorney would no longer be acting as Sam’s advocate but rather his friend. This example shows that it is difficult for a lawyer to be both a friend and an advocate because of the numerous professional, moral, and ethical issues involved. To navigate issues of friendship and professionalism, a lawyer needs to rely on both his education and experience. Insights from education and professional experience can enable him to look at the best interest of the client as his advocate and not as his friend.
Wesserman, S. (2010). The philosopher as public defender: In defense of a rapist. New York, NY:Butterworth-Heinemann.
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