COMPROMISE, LAWYERS, AND THE LAW
Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA)
This article is my summary of one in Bench & Bar. Bench & Bar is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) I am drawing upon an article in the August, 2011 edition regarding compromise in Minnesota Law, written by Martin Cole, who is the director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in Minnesota. I’d like to express my thanks to Mr. Cole and all those who made his article possible.
The best thing I can do with the article in question is to urge you to read it yourself if you are, or about to be, involved in a legal matter with an attorney.
Compromise and the Law in MN
Mr. Cole is in favor of compromise in the judicial system in Minnesota. Not to compare myself to him, but so am I. Mr. Cole points out the opposition to compromise amongst politicians. Compromise seems to be under attack from several quarters. He points out that going to court and fighting to the bitter end can be a costly and stressful proposition which does not necessarily lead to victory. He adds that part of the client – lawyer relationship is “the reasonableness of the client’s position.” That’s a good thing for an attorney’s client to bear in mind.
You Can Fight to the Bitter End, But…
It’s not unethical or illegal for a lawyer to fight it out to the end (bitter or not) for her client. But there are limits: in the Minnesota legal system, which we are concerned with here, there exist various rules regarding the merit of a claim, candor, fairness, respect for the rights of others, illegal conduct, and so on.
The article concludes with the acknowledgement that compromise is not always possible; but that it needs to be an option that is open. Read it!
Thomas G. Moore