Legal academics have long struggled to define the appropriate role a lawyer's moral judgment ought to play in client representation. In its simplest terms, the question is: Must a lawyer be a "hired gun," seeking all lawful objectives sought by a client, or may a lawyer act independently to avoid the harm a client's actions will cause innocent parties? Following disclosure of lawyer involvement in the Savings and Loan, Enron and WorldCom failures, many in society joined those scholars calling for greater moral responsibility.

In this article, I provide an analytical approach consistent with existing law and practice that seeks to find a place for an individual lawyer's moral principles. Lawyers, particularly new lawyers, need to know just how much discretion they will have to follow their consciences. Understanding the limits on one's moral discretion will affect the way a lawyer practices and should influence her choice of practice environment. Prior to accepting a position, a lawyer should know whether she will be comfortable with the prevailing standards of practice.

Publication Date


Journal Title

Brandeis Law Journal

Document Type



Copyright 2005 University of Louisville and Mitchell M. Simon

Additional Information

This manuscript was made available as Paper 4 in the Pierce Law Faculty Scholarship Series by NELLCO (nellco.org). The final version was published in Volume 43 of the Brandeis Law Journal (2005).