What does an attorney do when he knows a judge will not rule in his favor on an issue but believes he is fighting for the right side of justice and history? Many attorneys take the road they know the presiding judge will “like” best or will not find “offensive.” It’s the easy road. These kinds of attorneys avoid too heavy and unpopular issues that challenge the legal landscape on a large scale. But there is another kind of attorney–a Maverick of Law.
The rationalization to avoid controversial issues and arguments is easy: the attorney will say, “what good will I do my client if I argue points of law that have not been largely accepted yet?” From a very short-term point of view, it may be true that arguing points of law that have not been largely accepted is pointless or counterproductive; but there are some attorneys who cannot and will not accept status quo and work beyond hear and now. They are Mavericks of Law.
Looking through American history, there have been pivotal points of law that transformed the legal landscape of America and the future forever. Those battles were monumental. For example, black Americans used to be considered the property of white slave holders; women were considered less deserving than men in politics; government used to prohibit people from drinking alcohol; and homosexuals were considered sub-human or mentally deranged. Those were large legal issues that required attorneys to chip away at the legal timber over a long period of time. Through their pioneering, they expanded the liberties and rights of humans. They were Mavericks of Law.
Those large issues are obvious to most people, but there are many less obvious issues that are as unjust and must be challenged by attorneys who see the evils in the legal system. It could be a matter of criminal procedure, insurance law, parental rights, or the Bill of Rights. Shaping the legal landscape to improve human liberty requires Mavericks of Law to raise the issues and challenge or shape precedent. It requires attorneys looking at judges during a hearing and explain WHY court rulings on a particular issue to date are wrong or should be changed. The results of these efforts will not be immediate. That is certain. But over time, the spirit of liberty has to and must prevail. Human history proves this. Mavericks of Law recognize this.
In sum, attorneys have a greater duty than to their clients. They have a duty to improve the judicial system itself. Of course, this duty does not mean protecting the status quo of judicial economy and power. It means cutting paths of justice into the grains that tend to trample over the rights of people. Being a Maverick of Law is not for the faint of heart or for those whose only mission is to enrich themselves. It is for those who believe that there is a higher and greater mission in life than selfish gain. It is for those who desire to protect fellow citizens and the human race.
I want to be a Maverick of Law.