A lawyer is a guide to social and bears great importance. The common masses may not understand the exact language of the law and the procedure of its proper implementation. It is the role of the lawyer who makes society aware of the rule of law and its bindings. The lawyers create a bridge between the legal system and the people. Moreover, the lawyer's role has been defined on the basis of codes of conduct in order to establish an equal lawyer-client relationship. The role is to the benefit of people and to the well-being of society.
The standard conception aims at making the role of lawyers just and fair towards clients. It demands respectful treatment from the lawyers and stresses eradicating the grievances of the clients to the best. David Luban says Every lawyer knows tricks of the trade that can be used to do opponents out of their legal deserts. However, some perspectives claim that such tricks are applied only when they favor the interests of the clients. The standard conception of the lawyer`s role fixes the prime responsibility of lawyers to stick to the best interests of the clients. Such prescriptions have invited censure that most of the instructions favor clients.
In addition, the standard conception has been divided into two models which Boon support and claims. The first one is neutrality which prescribes the lawyer to represent their clients whatever their grievances are or whether they support or do not. A neutral approach has to be adopted in order to perform the prime duty. The second approach is partisanship which requires the lawyer to be the partner of their clients in their issues. This would involve the lawyer more passionately. These two approaches mentioned above are if adopted by the lawyers, the non-accountability standard conception provides immunity to the lawyers from the consequences. It means lawyers will not be blameworthy of their actions.
The approach of neutrality requires the lawyers to get rid of their personal feelings in order not to influence the interests of their clients. If lawyers impose their own opinions and analysis, this would change the direction of the case. This would probably result in disagreement and arguments between the lawyer and the client. Furthermore, the neutrality approach can let Christian lawyers represent Muslim clients or Muslim lawyers defend Jewish clients. This approach does not see the background or the end of the case but controls a biased approach in choosing whose proposal to be accepted or rejected.
The partisanship standard requires that the lawyer becomes a partner to the client in the case and they both equally treat each other. The lawyer in this principle lets clients pursue their interests and defend their actions of the clients. In this regard, it is said that the client is alone and the lawyer should be a champion against a hostile world. For instance, a client can be in a situation of seeking immigration or asylum and he or she is in a foreign country to do so. The lawyer must be the support and the shadow of the client in such circumstances. It is found in some of the US literature that lawyers have to stand by their clients' prepositions even if they are against their views. Moreover, the partisan approach is well expressed in the eighteenth-century case, Annesley v Anglesey, that A gentleman of character does not disclose his client's secrets, An attorney identifies with his clients, and it would be contrary to the rules of natural justice and equity for an individual to betray himself, and Attorneys are necessary for the conduct of business, and business would be destroyed if the attorneys were to disclose their communications with their clients.
Mere-zeal v Hyper-zeal:
The approach of partisans makes the lawyers observe mere-zeal and hyper-zeal behavior while dealing with the cases of their clients. In a mere-zealous attitude, the lawyer is supposed to fulfill the legal expectations and ensure that this process does not violate the statute. However, the lawyer has to use all of his power or skills at his disposal to provide justice to the clients. On the contrary, it is argued that in the process of mere-zealous expression, the lawyers might become hyper-zealous which takes the lawyer to go beyond legal rights. This state would make the lawyer choose benefit to the clients rather than legal objectives. In this regard, Luban says My legal rights are everything I am in fact legally entitled to, not everything the law can be made to give.
Justifications of Standard Conception:
Authors and other notaries have justified standard conception variously but the case studies reveal the importance of standard conception and its natural implementation. Similarly, Tim Dare keeps the view that the folks have little legal knowledge and the lawyers can help in this regard but lawyers should not exploit this opportunity. It is further said that neutrality is used to make lawyers stick to the demands of the clients. The lawyers are empowered legally because they keep the best knowledge of the law. After years of practice, lawyers are replete with great experience and expertise. Along with these powers, the will of the lawyers should be to satisfy the client`s prime objectives.
Daniel Markovits substantiates standard conception with democratic legitimacy in his book, A Modern Legal Ethics. It is argued in the book that law can be utilized in a manner that can resolve the grievances of the clients and the manner should not violate the statute the partisan lawyer should make the best use of his skills. Partisanship should ignite confidence and trust in the clients for participating more actively in the legal arena. The will in the clients will arouse only when the lawyers give clients the opportunity to well use their evidence and arguments in favor of their interests.
Stephen Pepper writes: The client often wants or needs to understand what the law is in order to evaluate options and make decisions about his or her life, and the most common function of lawyers (across specializations and areas of practice) is to provide that knowledge. It is further said that the lawyers should provide access to the law to the clients so that clients are helped decide their own approach and stance. This way the lawyers should not impose their own methods on whether the approach is morally good or not. The non-accountability protects lawyers in this process but they cannot surpass the rule of law. Furthermore, Charles Fried claims that lawyers should work like a friend with clients. Friends support and justify every action of their friend in the same way lawyers should also perform their duties.
The promoters of the standard conception divide themselves on the basis of differences of opinion. Some argue that the hyper-zeal approach is better because it makes the lawyers achieve the goals of clients using any technique but remaining within the limits of laws. They argue that lawyers must adopt fearless advocacy in order to serve at best. Daniel Markovits suggests modern legal ethics that allow lawyers to cheat and deceive even lie to serve their clients. It is meant that by using the laws in a manner that covers malpractices.
Moreover, hyper-zeal is supported by two basic arguments. Firstly, both parties are supposed to present every evidence and argument in order to achieve speedy justice and if both refrain from being to the point, the provision of justice may get influenced. Secondly, it is the right of the clients to decide to present what argument is in their best interest allowed by law. This shows that if there appears a problem in revelation then it will be lacking on the part of the legal system. Both arguments strive to do justice and encourage a smooth flow in the provision of justice and fairness. Contrarily, some keep the view that standard conception should not be misused and exploited and a mere-zealous approach is encouraged by them. It is argued by them that lawyers should represent their clients by using good ethical objections free from malpractices.
Alternatives to Standard Conception:
It is argued by some thinkers that there are alternatives to standard conception which can be used to avoid evil and malpractices. They are proposed by Brandley Wendel and William Simon who reject the use of standard conception. Their views deserve discussion in detail.
The role of lawyers cannot be fixed according to Brandley Wendel. If we decide one particular thing and impose it, there are many more prescriptions ignored in this way. Wendel argues that all lawyers have different perspectives and adopt dissimilar ways to handle their cases and therefore we cannot impose universal values and ethics on all of them. There is no way we can do a comparison between a lawyer from South Asia and a lawyer from South America. They are pools apart. Wendel further says, Just as neither a nun nor a mother can be criticized for failing to realize the virtues particular to the other, so is it possible that two or more types of lawyers may exist, each of which exemplifies competing but incompatible virtues.
It is argued by William Simon that we do need standard conception or other ethical values to serve justice. Achievement and provision of justice is the fundamental objective of every action that a lawyer performs. It is further argued that when a lawyer is representing a client he is already striving to reach the fundamental goal which is justice in the legal system. In counterargument, the supporters of standard conception claim that if both opponents present the best arguments how justice can be served? Leniently it is replied by William Simon that most of the time either side is being presented poorly if the law is not just then justice will not pave the way. It is all about the legal system which should be just and fair otherwise nothing would go right even if there are thousands of standard conceptions.
In conclusion, it can be said that one cannot wholly rely on ethical codes to receive justice. The legal system and its pillars should be strong enough in order not to let injustice prevail. The role of lawyers should also be given priority in the provision of justice but the legal system should not be a game played only by lawyers in society. There must be a balance of power system where neither lawyers nor others should surpass one another. Thus, the legal system must be so strong that it should not be exploited.