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Saintly Lawyers

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | April 27, 2014

No. 1,040

Statue of St. Ives, Patron Saint of lawyers and Judges. Image: chicago-outdoor-sculptures.blogspot.com

Statue of St. Ives, Patron Saint of lawyers and Judges. Image: chicago-outdoor-sculptures.blogspot.com

Today is the day of canonization of Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, unique for so many reasons.  They happen to be two of the most influential men of the 20th Century.  Unlike any other canonized saints,  billions saw them extensively on television.

This event reminded me that we haven’t seen the canonization of a lawyer for quite a few centuries.  The patron saints of lawyers and judges are St. Thomas More and Saint Ives. Both were great men and worthy patrons of the profession.  But why are there no saintly lawyers recognized by the Church who lived in the past five centuries?

The popular belief that the practice of law and sainthood are incompatible is wrong.  I have personally known many lawyers who practiced their profession with great integrity.  The idea that a lawyer must harm others to succeed in a case or cause is just not true.  To the contrary, the legal profession as a whole spends a great deal of time defining its ethics and policing ethical behavior to an extent that no other profession can claim.

That doesn’t make individual lawyers ethically superior to anyone else.  But it demonstrates that the profession as a group demands high standards of ethical conduct that go far beyond the dictates of the law. Moreover, some of the personal qualities of the saints, including strength of character and single-minded dedication, are also attributes of great lawyers.

CLT

 

 

 

 

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CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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