June 13, 2015

Standing Up for the Unpopular: The Perils and Rewards of Representing Disfavored Clients

2015 National Convention, ACS 2015 National Convention, Debo Adegbile, unpopular clients

Caroline Fredrickson

American Constitution Society
Begin: 0:00

Ari Melber

Begin: 2:30

Debo Adegbile

Begin: 22:45

Pardiss Kebriaei

Center for Constitutional Rights
Begin: 13:33

Burt Neuborne

New York University School of Law; Founding Legal Director
Begin: 5:58
A lawyer has a duty to zealously advocate on behalf of his or her clients, yet lawyers who represent unpopular clients can be lauded as champions of justice or unfairly vilified as accomplices to monsters. In our adversarial system, how can we guarantee justice for all if fear of reprisal chills attorney participation in controversial causes? In what contexts do criticisms of attorney representations arise, and are there an discernible patterns? What must be done to educate the bar and the public about the principles fundamental to our system of justice: all people and entities are entitled to representation, and such representations are not an endorsement of a client's view or conduct? How can controversial cases enrich a lawyer's practice and does it pose any risks? 
  • Ari Melber, Chief Legal Correspondent and Co-Host of "The Cycle" MSNBC
  • Debo Adegbile, Partner, WilmerHale
  • Pardiss Kebriaei, Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights
  • Burt Neuborne, Norman Dorsen Professor of Civil Liberties, New York University School of Law; Founding Legal Director, Brennan Center for Justice