Lawyer as Peacemaker: A Christian Response to Rambo Litigation

26 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2008

Date Written: December 15, 2008

Abstract

This article examines and critiques Rambo lawyering. The practice of law has evolved so that the cornerstone principle of client loyalty, together with the economic incentives inherent in law practice, not only create strong motivations for lawyers to pursue their clients' causes vigorously, but also allow lawyers to easily absolve themselves of any moral obligation for their activities as their clients' representatives. Vigorous advocacy is an indispensible part of the modern judicial system, and it is generally believed that truth and justice will be served as long as there are vigorous advocates on both sides and the profession's code of ethics is not violated. This creates a tendency toward moral neutrality that can create conflicts for Christian lawyers, especially those involved in trial advocacy, who may feel bound by their faith to exceed the bare ethical standards of the profession. After providing an in-depth description of Rambo lawyering, the article discusses these conflicts in the context of the six transforming initiatives that comprise Jesus's teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (turn the other cheek, give your tunic and cloak, go the second mile, give to those who ask, love your enemy, and pray for those who persecute you). The article concludes by providing suggestions for ways that Jesus's teaching might inform and transform Christian lawyers from Rambo lawyers to peacemakers. These include adopting deontological decision-making principles (rather than teleological reasoning), examining motiviations (their own and their clients'), and approaching their work as lawyers with a greater degree of modesty, humility, and humanity.

Keywords: Rambo lawyering, practice, practitioners, lawyer, client, representation, vigorous, advocacy, moral, morality, moral neutrality, Christian, religious, practice, faith, ethics, ethical standards, Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, peacemaker

Suggested Citation

Perrin, L. Timothy, Lawyer as Peacemaker: A Christian Response to Rambo Litigation (December 15, 2008). Pepperdine Law Review, Vol. 32, 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1316479

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