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32 Wake Forest L. Rev. 635 (1997)
Professional Versus Moral Duty: Accepting Appointments in Unjust Civil Cases

handle is hein.journals/wflr32 and id is 651 raw text is: ARTICLES
PROFESSIONAL VERSUS MORAL DUTY: ACCEPTING
APPOINTMENTS IN UNJUST CIVIL CASES
Teresa Stanton Collett*
To refuse to take part in committing an injustice is not only a
moral duty-it is also a basic human right. Were this not so,
the human person would be forced to perform an action intrin-
sically incompatible with human dignity, and in this way hu-
man freedom itself, the authentic meaning and purpose of
which are found in its orientation to the true and the good,
would be radically compromised. What is at stake therefore is
an essential right which, precisely as such, should be acknowl-
edged and protected by civil law.'
INTRODUCTION
American lawyers have long claimed the right to select clients
in accordance with their conscience. From the first formulation of
an American code of legal ethics2 to its current incarnations,3 mem-
* Professor of Law, South Texas College of Law. Visiting Scholar, Notre
Dame Law School. I am grateful for the helpful comments I received on drafts
of this article from Professors Gerry Bradley, Monroe Freedman, Doug Kmiec,
Ernest Lidge, Michael Paulsen, Jacqueline Nolan-Haley, John Robinson, Ron
Rotunda, Robert Tuttle, and Elisa Ugarte.
1. POPE JOHN PAUL II, THE GOSPEL OF LiFE   74(1995).
2. See David Hoffman, Resolutions in Regard to Professional Deportment,
in A COURSE OF LEGAL STUDY, ADDRESSED TO STUDENTS AND THE PROFESSION
GENERALLY 752 (American Law: The Formative Years, Arno Press, 1972) (1836)
[hereinafter David Hoffman's Resolutions]. David Hoffman is considered the
father of American legal ethics, and his Resolutions are credited as the first
American formulation of a code of conduct for lawyers. Many of the ABA's 1908
Canons of Professional Ethics were modified versions of Hoffman's Resolutions.
Among the resolutions proposed by Hoffman were the following:
If, after duly examining a case, I am persuaded that my client's claim
or defence (as the case may be) cannot, or rather ought not, to be sus-
tained, I will promptly advise him to abandon it. To press it further
in such a case, with the hope of gleaning some advantage by an ex-

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