Which Client-Centered Counselors?: A Reply to Professor Freedman

Robert F. Cochran Jr.

Pepperdine University School of Law


Hofstra Law Review, Vol. 40, p. 355, 2012
Pepperdine University Legal Studies Research Paper 2014/3

In this article, Professor Cochran responds to Professor Freedman's comments concerning Cochran’s criticism of client-centered lawyering for its tendency to focus exclusively on the interests of clients, often at the expense of other people. Professor Freedman and his co-author, Professor Abbe Smith, appear to be alone among the client-centered counselors in supporting the idea of moral counsel as an integral part of the decision-making process. In this response, Cochran attempts to generate a conversation among those who identify themselves as client-centered lawyers as to the very significant differences between them in the matter of lawyer-client moral discourse. Under the dominant method of client-centered counseling, the lawyer and client consider alternatives in light of consequences for the client, not consequences for others. After lawyers encourage the client to see things from the client's perspective and the client makes a decision, Cochran argues that it will be difficult for lawyers to shift gears and introduce moral discourse. Cochran also criticizes Freedman’s emphasis on client autonomy. Cochran argues that the concept of client autonomy is too absolute, and that each lawyer and client should have a discussion about the appropriate level of client autonomy. Professor Freedman may not be willing to break from the client-centered lawyers and join Professors Cochran, Shaffer, and others as a “collaborative counselor,” in a school of client counseling that better captures his call for lawyer-client moral discourse, but Cochran encourages Professor Freedman to challenge the dominant client-centered position on this issue and seek reform from within. Cochran concludes that lawyer-client moral discourse should be an integral part of legal representation.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 13

Keywords: client-centered, moral discourse, collaborative counseling, legal ethics, attorney-client counseling, client autonomy

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Date posted: December 13, 2013 ; Last revised: March 5, 2014

Suggested Citation

Cochran, Robert F., Which Client-Centered Counselors?: A Reply to Professor Freedman (2012). Hofstra Law Review, Vol. 40, p. 355, 2012; Pepperdine University Legal Studies Research Paper 2014/3. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2366965

Contact Information

Robert F. Cochran Jr. (Contact Author)
Pepperdine University School of Law ( email )
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States
310-456-4684 (Phone)
310-456-4063 (Fax)
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