This semester I am taking Legal Professions, an ethics course required by the school. It’s an interesting class, full of the dos and the don’ts of the legal profession. Being in a clinic too, I get real clients to apply these rules to while still in school. Loyalty to the client is one of the most important things we’ve learned thus far. This can come in so many forms: confidentiality, competency, diligence, and ensuring there are no conflicts with other clients. Loyalty is a huge part of the legal profession. You want to be loyal to your clients so they feel comfortable giving you information so you can advocate for them in the best ways.
This chapter of HP is all about loyalty, from being loyal to breaking loyalty. After the World Cup game there is quite a commotion in the area. Mr. Weasley goes to investigate, sending the children out and into the forest for shelter upon his return. A group of amoral wizards, the Death Eaters, were terrorizing a muggle family and causing chaos in the campgrounds. The Golden Trio get separated from the other Weasleys and end up alone in the forest. Roaming around int he dark, Harry loses his wand. While hiding out in the forest they witness the Dark Mark being conjured by a wizard nearby. Before they can see the wizard’s face, they are suddenly attacked by wizards from the Ministry of Magic. They attempt to explain who conjured the dark mark and are absolved when a Ministry Wizard finds Barty Crouch’s house-elf holding Harry’s wand, under a bush near where the mark was conjured. This amiable elf is maligned by the Ministry members. They find Winky (the elf) guilty and Barty Crouch decides the best punishment would be to set the elf free since she could not follow directions or remain loyal to him. She pleads with him, stating she’s been loyal to him this whole time, but nothing works, Barty makes his choice.
It’s funny what the breaking of loyalty can do. In the legal world it can create so many problems for a lawyer. From losing the client’s trust, to being disciplined for Professional Rules of Conduct violations, to even being disbarred. Everything we do as lawyers is looked at from a loyalty standpoint. We are forever responsible of making sure our actions are not adverse to our past clients and present clients needs. We must keep confidentiality at all times (unless under the enumerated exceptions found in the rules) and must work diligently on all client matters.
And while our clients could totally just present us with clothes (metaphorically speaking of course) and set us free, as Barty says he will be doing with Winky the house elf, there are times when the Court won’t allow for that to happen. If you can’t get out of your representation and your client feels like you haven’t been loyal to you or you now feel like your trust has been broken by the client, this can lead to some extra stressful days in your work.
Being loyal is the foundation of any good relationship, whether that is friendships, parent-child, employer-employee, teacher-student, significant others, or lawyer-client. Once that loyalty has been broken and trust no longer exists, things can get pretty ugly. It may seem like a no brainer to most people, but learning about the extent of the damage in the legal profession makes this feel a little scarier every day. And I thought just the Bar exam would be the scary part!
Until Next Time,