O'Connor's Canons: The Professional Responsibility Jurisprudence of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
94 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2013
Date Written: September 9, 2013
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor came to the Supreme Court at a time of tremendous change in the legal profession. With the development of commercial free speech doctrine, lawyers were permitted to advertise their services. Justice O’Connor vigorously opposed this development because of the potential legal advertising had for damaging the ethical standards of the profession. She believed that lawyers, because of their privileged position in society, had a higher moral duty to society as officers of the court. Moreover, she asserted that ethical standards should be established at the state level and the Court should defer to the states in this regard. Justice O’Connor wrapped her professional ideals around the belief that our majestic law steeped in traditions of freedom, democracy and liberty was to be maintained by lawyers with the highest commitment to professional duty and a willingness to sub serve their own financial and personal interests to the needs of the clients. This article will consider the constitutional jurisprudence of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in the arena of professional responsibility with a focus on how she expressed her ethical canons in light of First Amendment Doctrine as applied to commercial free speech. Her views are immensely relevant to current discourse on professionalism.
Keywords: Ethics, professional responsibility, legal advertising and solicitation, First Amendment, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
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