What is an ‘Ethics’ lawyer?
No doubt you have heard of the many specialties of the law profession. They include; Divorce Attorney, Family Law Attorney, Criminal Defense Attorney, Bankruptcy Attorney, Immigration Attorney, Personal Injury Attorney, DUI Attorney, Real Estate Attorney, Civil Attorney, Wills and Estate Planning, Tax Attorney, Labor and Employment Attorney, Contracts Attorney, Corporate Law Attorney, Patent Attorney, International Law Attorney, well you get the point. But what is an ‘Ethics’ lawyer?
First of all, if you feel that your lawyer has misrepresented you, in other words, committed malpractice, you can get an ethics lawyer to help you get your money back or is some way fix the problem that an unethical lawyer has caused you. So, because of that, the negligent lawyer would need to defend himself and need a lawyer for her defense and hire an ethics lawyer because the regular defense lawyer only handles things like murder and rape. Lawyers who practice this type of law know about the rules that apply to lawyer conduct. They often serve as an expert witness when another lawyer’s conduct is called into question. For similar reasons, ethics lawyers are sometimes called upon by those who do business with lawyers such as title insurance companies, marketing companies, and litigation funding companies, to advise them on how lawyers may lawfully do business.
One such entity that may need such representation is the President of the United States.
Now many presidents have been lawyers before they were presidents but it is unlikely they would need an ethics lawyer for work they did as an attorney. Though presidents fall into the category as one who does business with lawyers, that is an unlikely reason too for this reason, presidents need ethics lawyers to tell them exactly where the legal line is drawn and whether or not they have crossed it. Furthermore, the ethics lawyer could advise a president if he needs to take just a step or two back from the legal line so as to achieve the objective.
Then there could also be an ethics lawyer for one president to challenge the ethics of another president.
Take for instance Richard Painter, the Bush administration’s chief ethics lawyer. Virginia Seitz was the head of the Office of Legal Counsel for President Obama. Painter said this, “These OLC opinions involve very difficult constitutional issues as well as separation of powers. OLC lawyers should be free to render their honest opinion and not be threatened with adverse career consequences by either the White House or Congress.”
But as in anything with politics that left him wide open for comments like this from Andy Ostroy writing in the Huffington Post :
In his NY Times op-ed piece JUNE 13, 2010 entitled “The Separation of Politics and State,” Richard Painter shines a spotlight on what he suggests is the Obama administration’s unethical conflating of partisan politics and policy. And he ought to know a thing or two about ethics, or a lack thereof, as he served from 2005-2007 as George W. Bush’s chief White House ethics lawyer.
...no administration in history blatantly used its political apparatus to influence policy more than the Bushies. This includes sending U.S. troops to die in an unjust war; illegal wiretappings and domestic spying; and obstruction of 9/11 commission investigations.
So it’s a bit dubious and unsurprisingly hypocritical for Painter, who was in the thick of some of this political chicanery in Rove’s West Wing, to attack Obama and use his administration as the poster-child for partisan opportunism. Funny what short memories the Bushies have.
Or this, Sam Stein on June 3, 2019 in the Huffington Post:
On Wednesday evening, news broke of yet another instance in which the Obama administration dangled a job offer to a Democratic official in hopes of luring him out of a primary Senate race. The Republican Party cried foul, declaring it seedy politics at best and bribery at worst.
And yet, on the most fundamental question — whether laws, in fact, were broken — it remains a non-story. At least according to the chief ethics lawyer for the Bush administration.
“I don’t think it violates government ethics,” said Richard Painter, now a professor of law at University of Minnesota. “I don’t think it’s fair for the voters for the White House to intentionally try to take someone out of the running... I don’t like it. But does it violate government ethic rules under the Hatch Act? That’s a real stretch, and the bribery statute’s off the table, that doesn’t work at all.”
Perhaps Mr. Painter should have been around in 1976 when Dubya’s father was doing this, New Docs Expose Bush Sr. Illegally Destroying Evidence of US Crimes While Head of CIA Documents recently dredged from the CIA’s massive database expose an effort by the former director to destroy documents evincing the agency’s illegal activities and operations.
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