Lawyers should represent both sides

The California Lawyer Magazine holds an Extreme Advocacy Contest. The problem is to argue a seemingly ridiculous point so as to convince your audience.

The winner, Blair Hoffmann, argued that the same lawyer should represent both sides on appeal. Others argued that the moon is made of green cheese, people should walk on all fours, and Queen Elizabeth is the reigning monarch of the USA. The competition was judged by Alex Kozinski, a judge on the Ninth Circuit.

bq. Having the same attorney represent both parties (1) enhances the quality of the advocacy, (2) is fairer, and (3) is more efficient. I do not advocate that the same attorney must represent both parties-on occasion multiple attorneys might be useful-but courts should permit, even encourage, a single attorney to represent both sides. Ethical obligations, properly understood, do not stand in the way.

(from Denise Howell at Bag & Baggage).

One thought on “Lawyers should represent both sides

  1. Reminds me of the conveyancing procedure in Austria. One lawyer is allowed to act for both sides: buyer and seller. Remembering the Eng. & Wales Law Society’s rules against this, hedged round with strict exceptions, I anxiously checked this out with other local lawyers on our property-buy in Vienna to find this procedure was, indeed, O.K. The seller’s lawyer also accepted, without a murmur, all changes I wanted made to the Contract of Sale. It also saved us quite a lot of money in saved fees.

    However, I doubt this one-attorney system will work on criminal appeals over here.

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