In the United States and elsewhere, ethical codes bind lawyers to provide vigorous representation to all clients. Whether or not lawyers approve of a client's moral stance, they are supposed to provide zealous advocacy on the client's behalf. Based on this premise, lawyers should have no qualms about switching sides in a dispute or representing clients whose values and behavior disgust them. Indeed, to do so is a point of professional pride and a demonstration of professional responsibility.

Legal Professionalism and the Public Interest

In this framing, one measures professionalism largely in terms of technical expertise put at the disposal of clients. William Simon, writing critically about lawyers, referred to this ethical norm as the “ideology of advocacy,” according to which attorneys are supposed to be professionally ...

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