To the editor: Law professor Margaret Tarkington spends a lot of ink making an argument that former President Trump’s plot to overturn the 2020 election demands more regulation of lawyers who represent government officials.
Indeed, her entire piece has to be read in order to realize that the solution to the deficiencies she sees in attorney ethics and duties already exists.
As she finally points out in her last paragraph, attorneys are required to take an oath before they can represent clients, one that requires them to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. Some states actually include their state Constitution and laws in their oath’s recitation.
As we have seen in the Tom Girardi affair, at least in California the real problem is not a lack of rules, but the lack of integrity and determination by State Bar disciplinary officials to hold attorneys accountable and to boot them out of the profession when the oath is broken.
David L. Clark, Ventura
To the editor: Lawyers often follow the letter of the law while violating its spirit. They reason like dogs and small children:
“You said not to go through the kitchen door to where the cookies are cooling, but you didn’t say anything about going around the side of the house and climbing through the kitchen windows.”
We need a broader definition of treason than the narrow one in the Constitution, which prohibits aiding and abetting the enemy in wartime.
And, if lawyers want respect, why don’t they rid themselves and the country of those colleagues devoid of honor? At least dogs and small children are lovable.
Norm Simon, Encinitas
To the editor: Tarkington unfairly uses a thick paintbrush to tarnish the legal profession because of the actions of some of Trump’s attorneys. She forgets that lawyers, seemingly despite evidence to the contrary, are human beings with human frailties.
The attorneys who tried to help the former president overturn the 2020 election result stupidly drank the Kool-Aid that Trump served them. And, those who pleaded guilty in the Georgia election interference case are getting off easy.
In my 53 years of practicing law in Los Angeles, I have dealt with hundreds of attorneys. I can count on one hand the number that I feel were unethical.
Jon Brod, Westwood
To the editor: While Tarkington’s letter is compelling, she forgets one important lawyer, working in his capacity as a member of Congress, who also tried to change the result of the 2020 election. That lawyer is the recently elected speaker of the House, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.).
Eric Aukee, Sherman Oaks