Re: Re[2]: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: Zero Powers (
Date: Fri Apr 14 2000 - 23:26:21 MDT

>From: Lee Daniel Crocker <>
> > It's not really a "monopoly." The ABA does not have the exclusive right
> > practice law. The ABA in fact does not practice law. It is merely a
> > professional association of unrelated individuals who are licensed to
> > practice law. It just so happens that the practice of law requires a
> > license in every state in the union. But that does not mean that
> > are exercising a monopoly any more than contractors, engineers,
> > or physicians or any other profession which you need a license in order
> > legally practice.
> >
> > Saying that lawyers have a "monopoly" on the practice of law is like
> > that licensed drivers have a monopoly on driving.
>It's much worse than that, though: a license to practive law requires
>the holder to do far more than merely demonstrated competence. One must
>swear and oath to become an "officer of the court"--so even if you intend
>to practice law only to sue the government, you have to swear loyalty to
>your opponent--and most places _require_ you to join the "private" BA,
>and abide by its regulations (which does indeed make it a government-
>backed monopoly). A defendant, who supposedly has a right to counsel
>for his defense, does not have the right to hire counsel that has not
>thus sworm loyalty to the court and to a private organization with its
>own warped sense of ethics (ethics, to the bar association, means
>making sure the right pockets get lined).

Not quite. I don't know of any state which requires lawyers to swear
loyalty to the government or even to the courts. In my state (California)
lawyers merely take an oath to (1) uphold the Constitution and (2)
faithfully execute the duties of a lawyer. In fact it would be an ethical
violation to swear loyalty to any organization (even the government) since,
as you suggest, your client might end up suing that entity. There is
nothing wrong with swearing loyalty to the Constitution, because (obviously)
you can't sue the Constitution.

Further, the state and national bar associations are no more
"government-backed" than any other professional association. The BA has no
rights or powers other than the oversight of the members of the profession.
In this respect it is no different than, say, state medical boards.


"I like dreams of the future better than the history of the past"
--Thomas Jefferson

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