May 8, 1998
I don't think that you can make a lawyer honest by an act of legislature. You've got to work on his conscience. And his lack of conscience is what makes him a lawyer.
Will Rogers, 1927
Chairman: The annual awards meeting of the Society for the Support
of the Legal Profession(SSLP) will please come to order. The business
of this meeting is to decide who is to receive the Clarence. This
award, and a statuette of Clarence Darrow, will be presented to
that person who, in the past year, has done the most for for the
advancement of the legal profession. Nominations are in order.
Vernon Jordan: I nominate President William Jefferson Clinton.
During his presidency he has clearly done more to increase the
employment of more lawyers than any person in history. Not only
have lawyers been employed for all people accused in the so-called
Whitewater affair, but virtually every witness has had his or
her personal attorney. Because of her brief association with the
then governor of Arkansas, Paula Jones has employed a number of
lawyers, as have other witnesses who testified in that case. There
have been attorneys employed by every White House intern or employee
who testified as well as attorneys for the Secret Service men.
All of this employment of attorneys has been encouraged by The
President. Since there is no obvious reason why so many attorneys
were needed, I can only conclude that he did what he did to advance
the employment of lawyers, even though some of them had to paid
out of his personal funds. His conduct in not asking any of the
lawyers to accept cases on a pro bono publico(for the public
good i.e.for no fee) basis is especially laudable.
Lawyer 1: I noticed, Mr. Jordan, that when you testified before
the grand jury, that you did not employ an attorney.
Jordan: I am an attorney.
Lawyer 1: The President is also an attorney, yet he employed several
Jordan: I doubt that he really needed them.
Lawyer 1: You know the saying that a lawyer who defends himself
has a fool for a client.
Jordan: I know the saying well. Still, having a fool for a client
is better than having a fool for a lawyer. Besides, when I appeared
in court, I wasn't defending myself, I was just a witness.
Lawyer 1: Monica Lewinski's mother had a lawyer and she was only
Jordan: She needed to show the world that she could afford a high-priced
Chairman: Are there other nominations?
Lawyer 2: I nominate Kenneth Starr. It should be obvious that
without Starr, none of those lawyers referred to in the Clinton
nomination would have been necessary. Besides, Starr has employed
a very large staff of lawyers to investigate all of the people
connected to the president.
Lawyer 3: Then there is the matter of justice. Is it just to try
to nail someone simply because of his political party?
Chairman: (Sharply) You are out of order! Are there any more nominations?
Lawyer 4: I nominate Ralph Nader.
Jordan: While it is true that Nader has encouraged the employment
of lawyers, you really don't consider Nader in the same league
with Clinton and Starr?
Lawyer 4: You're right. I withdraw my nomination. How about O.J.Simpson?
Chairman: He won the award a couple of years ago. If there are
no more nominations, I will declare nominations as closed. If
the two people who made the nominations will write up their briefs,
we will submit them to the membership.
Jordan: Should we submit a bill for writing up the brief, or will
it be pro bono?
Chairman: Nothing that we do here is pro bono. We have an endowment that pays for this work. We are proud to be lawyers and our pride will prevent us from doing anything without receiving adequate compensation.
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