by Eddie C.
In a recent episode of the hit legal drama “Suits” the protagonist, Mike Ross, is assigned to defend a client’s 17-year-old son after he admittedly committed a hit and run after driving home from a party. The victim later died in a hospital as a result of the accident. Although the boy maintained that he was sober the entire time, Mike Ross later discovers that the driver was under the influence of Marijuana at the time of the accident. Troubled by his own memory of losing his parents to a drunk driving incident, Mike compromised his ability to act in the best interest of his client and as a result, he disclosed privileged information to the opposing counsel.
One case that contrasts to the course of action in this episode of “Suits” is the famous Buried Bodies Case. In this case, a murderer discloses the burial site of his past victims to his attorneys. In contrast with Mike Ross’s actions, these attorneys rigidly upheld this privileged information despite pleas from the victims’ families.
This famous case paired with the recent “Suits” episode I watched forced me to evaluate the legal profession on a moral scale. It challenged me to consider the boundaries in which we as lawyers make decisions in this chosen career path. Where do we draw the line between following our morals versus our professional responsibilities?
As lawyers, we are advocates, protectors, and upholders of justice. We are discouraged to allow our own personal, emotional, and spiritual judgments dictate our actions in the courtroom. We must always act in the best interest of our clients and our firm. But in the case of Mike Ross and the Buried Bodies Case, we must ask ourselves: is justice cheated if we ignore our moral instinct to do what is “right” with what is expected?
While I believe that most attorneys in these situations would and SHOULD respect client-attorney privilege, it begs me to ask myself and my legal counterparts: are we actually protectors of justice when we carry out our relentless professional obligations? Or are we just pawns in a rigid legal system?
*(The Buried Bodies Case summary is available at http://www.lawtimesnews.com/200804214000/Commentary/Lake-Pleasant-bodies-case)