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South Texas Law Review



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Law professor, law professor ethics, legal profession, professional ethics


[A member of the House of Commons said in Samuel Johnson's presence] that he paid no regard to the arguments of counsel at the bar of the House of Commons, because they were paid for speaking. JOHNSON. 'Nay, Sir, argument is argument. You cannot help paying regard to their arguments, if they are good, If it were testimony, you might disregard it, if you knew that it were purchased. There is a beautiful image in Bacon upon this subject: testimony is like an arrow shot from a long bow; the force of it depends on the hand that draws it. Argument is like an arrow from a cross-bow, which has equal force though shot by a child.' What law professor would spurn the opportunity, afforded by this symposium, to offer personal reflections on the ethics of law professors? Day after day, by profession, we hold a mirror up to the law, legal institutions and lawyers. Now, we are invited to hold a mirror up to ourselves and our colleagues. Anyone at all reflective would jump at the chance. But, on further reflection, what law professor would willingly engage in this enterprise? Any problem we describe will be presumed to come from our own experience. Any criticism we level is sure to be turned back on us. To resolve this dilemma, I offer the reflections of a pseudonymous law professor. It should be understood that any problem described in this work is entirely fictional. It should also be understood that whatever views are expressed in this work do not necessarily coincide with my own. In any case, like the arrow from a cross-bow, the force of an argument should be the same regardless of who sets it forth.