Counseling clients, natural law, positive law, common good


This Article examines what natural law is and how it should be used as an approach for lawyers. The article first describes that the theory of natural law and positive law is to attain the goal of effecting the common good. Daniel Degnan considers cases from his experience as a law school dean and how the counselors in those cases made good use of a natural law approach. Although the lawyers in all these cases were practitioners advising clients, elements of the common good seems to have been implicit in their handling of every one of the cases. He explains that the law’s basic purpose is to be an order of reason for the common good of the community. He concludes that a lawyer, like everyone, begins with the naturally known principles of natural law. But from this, the virtue of prudence has to be sought after and developed over time. True prudence cannot be present without the virtue of justice, which regards the good of another person. When a lawyer acquires this prudence, then she will be capable of knowing and advancing the common good.



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