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Hofstra Law Review

Abstract

The field of legal ethics, as we know it today, has grown out of thoughtful, systematic grounding of lawyers’ duties in a comprehensive understanding of lawyers’ roles and the situating of lawyers’ roles in underlying theories of law, morality and justice. Unfortunately, the field of theoretical legal ethics has mostly lost track of the thing at the heart of a lawyers’ role: the integrity of the lawyer-client relationship. The field of theoretical legal ethics has developed in ways that are deeply lawyer-centered rather than fundamentally client-centered. This paper, which was delivered at Hofstra Law School as the Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics Lecture in October, 2010, explores the history of how legal ethics came to be lawyer-centered and what it would mean to ground a fundamentally client-centered conception of lawyers' duties in moral, political and jurisprudential theory.

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