Blame The Lawyers?

Since returning from Chicago, I’ve been catching up on the news. One of the recurring themes today is the question of whether Martha Stewart’s attorneys failed her?

There is an implication that good lawyering should achieve the desired result, no matter what the cause of action. We, unfortunately, live in a society that believes the goal of a well presented defense is to allow someone to be unaccountable for their actions. If that’s the criteria by which the Stewart verdict is being judged, the critics are right.

But, isn’t the whole idea of competent counsel, a fair and just result?

It is in the selfish interest of the accused (if guilty) to get an unfair and unjust adjudication. Hey – if it were me, that’s what I’d want. That’s not what’s in the best interest of our society – and our court system is supposed to be operating in the best interests of society.

Maybe it’s time we reassess exactly what it is lawyers do. Is a lawyer who can get a guilty client ‘off’ any different than a trainer who supplies an athlete with steroids that can’t be detected?

In a fair and just society, the question shouldn’t be about what Martha Stewart’s attorneys did, but what Martha did herself.

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