Ethics in a Vacuum by Phillip E. Johnson

Ethics in a Vacuum

The Watergate scandals of the early 1970s involved so many lawyers that the law schools and bar associations felt compelled to placate the public by requiring students and lawyers to take courses in legal ethics.

Whether this development benefited the public would be hard to say, but it certainly benefited some law professors such as myself. I taught professional responsibility (legal ethics) at two prominent law schools and even earned some nice fees testifying as an expert in the subject.

Once a gentleman’s way of behaving towards other gentlemen, professional responsibility has become merely another economic regulatory system—the regulation of the behavior of lawyers. Like all other officially recognized . . .