SC Lawyer, Sept. 2004, #6. From lions to wolves.

AuthorBy John Freeman

South Carolina Lawyer


SC Lawyer, Sept. 2004, #6.

From lions to wolves

South Carolina LawyerSeptember 2004From lions to wolvesBy John FreemanSouth Carolina Bar member Bob Bachman is one of the finest lawyers and most selfless individuals I've ever met. A professional in the truest sense of the word, Bob uses his impressive advocacy skills in his law practice at the McNair Firm, but does not put them on the shelf after hours. Rather, year after year, semester after semester, Bob tirelessly treks to the University of South Carolina School of Law to teach our appellate advocacy students and Moot Court team members how to brief and argue cases. This is what Bob does expertly and, by the time he finishes teaching them, so do his students. Bob's students adore him, and our faculty members familiar with his work look up to him as both a lawyer's lawyer and as a master teacher. Bob Bachman represents exactly the kind of attorney we want our students to become.

Because of my high esteem for Bob, I was delighted to receive from him for my review an article dealing with professionalism trends: Jed S. Rakoff, Is the Ethical Lawyer an Endangered Species, Litigation, Spring 2004, at 3. Bob sent it with the thought that I might find "something of interest" in the piece. I did, and want to discuss the article further here.

First, a word about the article's author, Jed Rakoff. He is an experienced lawyer and jurist. He formerly prosecuted white collar crimes in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and currently serves as a U.S. district court judge in the Southern District of New York. Besides being one of our leading trial judges, Judge Rakoff was familiar to me because reprints of his commentaries on criminal law are quoted in the texts I use in my teaching. Judge Rakoff's ethics article studies the evolution of law practice over the last few decades. I will summarize the key points for your consideration.

Judge Rakoff's central theme is that there has been a failure of leadership within the profession. He specifically laments the perceived disappearance at law firms of the senior partner who functioned as "the lawyer-statesman" (we might now say statesperson). This leader, in Rakoff's eyes, "was always careful to take some account of the public good" when advising clients. When the client sought to...

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