ESSAY: Henry Lord Brougham, Written by Himself * Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2006 Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics
Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics

ESSAY: Henry Lord Brougham, Written by Himself *

* This title is taken from the title of Brougham's three-volume autobiography, The Life and Times of Henry Lord Brougham, Written by Himself.

Fall, 2006

19 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 1213




In a recent article, 1 Professors Fred C. Zacharias and Bruce A. Green have made an error in discussing Henry Lord Brougham's famous declaration about the duty of zealous representation that lawyers owe to their clients. 2 The purpose of this essay is to correct that error, which first appeared in a 1907 book by John Dos Passos. 3

As part of their article, Zacharias and Green argue that lawyers should adopt the ethic of "professional conscience" expressed by a nineteenth century Pennsylvania judge, John Bannister Gibson, rather than the client-centered ethic of Brougham. 4 As the authors explain it, Gibson's ethic of professional conscience means that "lawyers' duties of zealous advocacy are limited by duties to the court that are implicit in the lawyer's professional role, capable of being articulated, and, in some cases, judicially enforced." 5 This appears to be simply a truism 6 and not a basis for "reconceptualizing advocacy ethics." The focus of this essay, however, is to suggest that Zacharias and Green's reliance on Gibson as a moral authority is misplaced, and, more importantly, to correct the erroneous assertion that Brougham repudiated his classic statement regarding zealous representation.

Zacharias and Green hold up Judge Gibson as "an intellectual giant" 7 whose moral pronouncements are entitled to our respect. It is therefore worth taking note of Gibson's moral authority, or lack of it, as revealed in his opinion in Hobbs v. Fogg. 8 Although Zacharias and Green certainly do not share Gibson's ...
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