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New York Times vs. Senator Gillibrand, cont'd



The paper's "OMG! She represented a tobacco company!" piece draws further critical responses: Above the Law, John Steele/Legal Ethics Forum. Steele is especially scathing about the "shoddy" quality of the paper's breathless presentation of routine associate tasks as indicative that Gillibrand was masterminding the industry's legal defense ("Can the NYT authors really be that unaware about how law firms work?") and closes as follows:

One of the low points of the article is this snarky, innuendo-heavy sentence: "The industry beat back the federal perjury investigation, a significant legal victory at the time, but not one that Ms. Gillibrand is eager to discuss." Is it possible that the NYT authors are unaware of why any lawyer, not just Ms. Gillibrand, wouldn't be eager to publicly discuss their former client's legal matters? I can think of one excellent reason. I bet you can too. And, what do you know, nine paragraphs later, the authors tip their hand: they know the reason as well. So let's go back and edit that sentence: "The industry beat back the federal perjury investigation, a significant legal victory at the time, but not one that Ms. Gillibrand is eager to discuss, because discussing it would breach her ethical and fiduciary duties as a lawyer."

Earlier here. Of course, as a leading organ of what has been called liberal legalism, the New York Times could recite backwards and forwards the accepted reasons why it's important that lawyers feel free to represent defendants who may be wrong, dangerous, and even evil. Indeed, big-firm lawyers who've represented suspected Guantanamo terrorists have been showered with some of the highest awards the legal profession has to offer. But if you have the temerity to resist a Dickie Scruggs or Stanley Rosenblatt money grab, on the other hand, you can expect this kind of treatment from commentators like Texas lawprof Sandy Levinson. Let future political aspirants be warned -- a line is drawn.

P.S. Yet more: Paul Horwitz, Prawfsblawg.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.