The recent hubbub about the "Al Qaeda 7" -- Department of Justice lawyers who, while in private practice, represented Guantanamo detainees -- spurred a massive debate, nominally about legal ethics and national security. The legal community seems to have come down largely on the side of the attorneys, ripping Liz Cheney and others who question the loyalty of these now-public servants. Lawyers, we're told, understand their ethical obligations, and should not be barred from government work simply because they previously represented clients who kind of hate the government.
Walter Olson, at Point of Law, ponders the significance of this opinion vis-a-vis the hybrid firms that exist in Washington (and elsewhere). Josh Gerstein had a piece at Politico last week questioning the different treatment of lawyers and lobbyists. Lobbyists, under current federal rules, must observe a two-year "cooling off period" before the taint of their prior activities is considered to have abated.
As Olson points out, though, the line between a firm's legal work and its lobbying work is often hazy at best. Well, he says it much more eloquently: [MORE]Sphere: Related Content
Posted by Eric Lipman on March 17, 2010
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