11, March 2004
An ethical responsibility of professionals is to be true to what they believe and know is right. The character of the professional must be one of high caliber. Within the context of the law, the character of the lawyer must belong within the category of a strongly differentiated ethical role.
This category requires that there be elevated moral considerations, or morals that are at a higher level than normal. Professionals make decisions that affect peoples live more directly than do non-professionals. This is the reason that their character must be of high quality. Douglas Schafer needs a lesson in strong role differentiation.
Schafer was recently in the news, confronted by quite an ethical dilemma in his practice as a lawyer. He exposed a judgeâ€™s misconduct, and in the process, told information about his client that he was supposed to keep secret, under client-attorney confidentiality laws.
His character clearly shows dishonesty. That he chose to keep it a secret until the judge sanctioned him, for whatever reason, speaks volumes about his character.
Character is a perplexing word to define. Your character says a l
Professionals in this category make decisions that affect people"tms lives more so than most other professionals and non-professionals do. Often character, virtue and integrity are words used interchangeably. An act could be seen as "out of character", which means that it hardly ever happens. I feel that Schafer"tms character is a bit shady. This is why it is strongly differentiated roles - lawyers and judges should be completely and totally trustworthy. Integrity on the other hand, I think we could all agree, is the congruence between thought, word and deed. It certainly was not out of virtuosity. The lawyer should have come forward just as soon as he was informed of the "deals" between his client and the judge, but this was not the reason for his six-month suspension. Will future clients want to have a lawyer whose character has shown that she has broken confidentiality in the past Was a six-month suspension long enough, or was the suspension too long These transgressions by this lawyer and the judge seem to indicate that they are not fit to hold the positions in which they have. "Out of virtuosity" certainly means something different than "out of character". This judge, any judge, needs to honor the strongly differentiated role that they find themselves in. The judge himself was forbidden to practice law for only two years.