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7 U. Fla. L. Rev. 375 (1954)
The Ethical Lawyer

handle is hein.journals/uflr7 and id is 389 raw text is: University of Florida Law Review
VOL. VII                   WimimR 1954                       No. 4
THE ETHICAL LAWYER
HENRY S. DRINKER*
Perhaps the best way to open discussion on this interesting subject
is by mentioning those features of a lawyer which might be called
the peripheral characteristics, that is, those characteristics not generally
supposed to be attributes of ethics. The provocative rather than the
informative or the didactic approach was selected because, to my mind,
a man is not an ethical lawyer merely because he obeys the Canons
of Professional Ethics and the Ten Commandments and refrains from
doing things for which he can be disciplined by a court or censured
by an ethics committee. He is an ethical lawyer only when his conduct
goes beyond the dictates of such rules. The Preamble to the Canons
of Ethics states that a lawyer must behave so that he will never be
ashamed of himself and so that what he does will commend itself to
the best people. He is thus commanded to do something more than
merely adhere to the canons and the Ten Commandments.
Lord Moulton once said: The real greatness of the nation, its
true civilization, is measured by the extent of Obedience to the Un-
enforceable. Obedience to the unenforceable is the true characteristic
of civilization. It is this concept which lawyers must constantly have
before them if they are to be truly ethical. Concern must be not with
whether an act is subject to discipline by an ethics committee but
whether such behavior is that which the conscience directs.
PERIPHERAL CHARACTERISTICS
I define the ethical lawyer as one whose preparation, equipment,
character, and conduct are always such as to reflect honor on the
noble profession of which he is a member.
*A.B. 1900, Haverford College; A.B. 1901, Harvard University; LL.B. 1904,
University of Pennsylvania; Chairman of the Standing Committee on Professional
Ethics and Grievances of the American Bar Association, 1944-1953; Author of
Legal Ethics; Member of the Philadelphia Bar.
[3751

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