Why is it necessary for lawyers to provide representation to “unsavory clients”?
Questions asking whether it is legally right or wrong for lawyers to represent the “unsavory clients” in the courts of law have been asked for decades, if not centuries. A lawyer’s first job is to defend the client, regardless of his culpability or not in the case presented by the prosecution. According to Lippmann (2014), laws are structured to govern the society, and any breakage of the moral/legal codes of conduct requires immediate reactions from the guiders of such codes. It is necessary for lawyers to provide representation to unsavory clients because of the legal doctrine of innocence until proven guilty, people’s rights to seek legal presentation in the court of law, and lastly, the lawyer’s obligations to perform their tasks with due diligence regardless of his/her presumption on the client’s guilt.
Presumption of innocence is a crucial doctrine that protects the accused persons in the courts of law and gives them the opportunity to stand trial. The attorneys are legally binded to act in the capacities of their client until it reaches a moment when the final verdict of the case originates. Were it not for this principle, several innocent people would be living behind bars with no one to act on their behalf. According to Lipmann (2014), the criminal courts are guided by the law and no one should be jailed without passing a fair trial characterized by a balanced hearing from the judge present. He mentions that “The reality is that the criminal trial is an endangered species. A criminal trial requires enormous preparation, time, expense, and resources… (Lipmann, 2014, 242). The scholar insinuates that any lawyer who agrees to represent the unsavory client in the court of law must be ready for tiresome work with the intention of winning the case for his/her client. It, is, therefore, legally acceptable for criminals or people accused of doing heinous practices in their societies to get a fair trial and considered innocent until proven guilty in the court of law.
The Sixth Amendment to the US constitution gives criminal suspects the right to seek the assistance of the counsel, so, it is constitutional for the lawyers to provide their representation. For decades, there have been mixed reactions from the public criticizing instances when the lawyers acted on behalf of people accused of rape, murder or any criminal activity of the same magnitude. According to Barkan (2018), a legal prosecution forms one of the suitable methods of solving disputes among individuals or societies as a whole. The scholar adds that lawyers play vital roles in representing parties involved in the dispute unconditionally. Lawyers also provide a good defense for the clients who cannot express themselves well or those who are afraid to speak in the court of law (Barkan, 2018). The majority of the public are additionally unaware of the technical legal terms used in the courts of law, so the best approach of receiving a fair trial in the courts is through hiring competent lawyers who understand such legal definitions. It is, therefore, crucial for the clients, whether unsavory or not, to get the assistance of a lawyer who can stand up for them and support them in all the court proceedings as it is constitutional too.
The first responsibility of any attorney is to advise and represent his/her client in the court of law. It is, therefore, legally acceptable for any person to request the assistance of these legal professionals at will. According to Lipmann (2014), criminal legal processes follow due diligence, and the lawyers are involved in such cases to research and analyze any legal problems that one would face. It is, however, crucial to mention that the representation of unsavory clients in the court of law does not make him or her immune to the court charges or being found guilty. The judge or the panel of judges present in court as at that time still has the jurisdiction to analyze the lawyer’s argument and to deliver the court ruling based on the constitutional provisions. Unsavory clients are; therefore, free to request for the assistance of lawyers in court cases that they are involved without any restrictions at all.
Overall, it is necessary for lawyers to provide
representations to unsavory clients because it is constitutional, subject to the
principle of presumption of innocence, and finally, because of lawyer’s obligation
to represent and advise their clients in the court of law. As discussed, the
accused persons have the right to be heard in the court of law prior to the
court ruling. In such circumstances, an individual is legally allowed to contact
a professional lawyer who can argue on their behalf in the court of law. The
judiciary is, therefore, mandated to uphold justice and render it immediately
to the deserving party without delays or favor. Lawyers, should, therefore, be considered
legal professionals who work in accordance with the legal terms and judicial principles,
and not as defenders of the wrongdoers in the society. In so doing, the legal
profession would attract more respect, and no more violation of the rights of the
accused would occur.
Barkan, S. 4. (2018). Law and Society: An Introduction. Routledge.
Lippmann, M (2014). Law and Society. SAGE.