Speak No Evil: Legal Ethics v. The First Amendment

38 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2014

See all articles by Terri Day

Terri Day

Barry University - Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law

Date Written: 2009


Debates surrounding the role of judges in American governance have sparked poisonous hostilities. The extent that attorneys may enter into this debate is controversial. The First Amendment, ethical rules of professional responsibility, and considerations of professionalism dictate lawyers' rights and responsibilities as participants in this great debate.

This article explores the contours of attorneys' First Amendment rights. It discusses the various legal standards that are applied when attorneys' statements result in disciplinary actions. It then analyzes a series of pertinent decisions within a First Amendment framework, examines the efficacy of restricting critical attorney speech in light of the public's ignorance concerning governmental institutions and their functions, suggests practical ways to positively impact the public's perception of the judicial system, and concludes by summarize why the problem of public perception must be combated with more speech, not less speech.

Keywords: Role of judges, attorney First Amdendment rights, Rules of Professional Responsibility, attorney speech, professionalism

JEL Classification: K10, K40, K23

Suggested Citation

Day, Terri, Speak No Evil: Legal Ethics v. The First Amendment (2009). Journal of the Legal Profession, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2512400

Terri Day (Contact Author)

Barry University - Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law ( email )

6441 East Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32807
United States

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