The lion on the left is a metaphor for the lawyers and law firms who stand up to attacks against our profession and justice itself.

In a New York Times article today, Official Attacks Top Law Firms Over Detainees,  you will see that there is an insidious movement to have business clients fire those preeminent corporate law firms who dare to use some of their pro bono time to defend the very foundation of the rule of law, like the Doctrine of Habeas Corpus

The "senior Pentagon official" is apparently not alone – the article references a journalist using the Freedom of Information Act for what looks like, smells like and just might be a McCarthy-esque attack on prominent law firms.

Those responsible for this vicious attack would not know "Magna Carta" if they stepped on it (and they are stepping on it)  – how ironic is it that they attack the basis of their own freedom.

I am delighted to confirm that according to the article the remarks:  "produced an instant torrent of anger from lawyers, legal ethics specialists and bar association officials, who said Friday that his comments were repellent and displayed an ignorance of the duties of lawyers to represent people in legal trouble."

Furthermore, "Karen J. Mathis, a Denver lawyer who is president of the American Bar Association, said: “Lawyers represent people in criminal cases to fulfill a core American value: the treatment of all people equally before the law. To impugn those who are doing this critical work — and doing it on a volunteer basis — is deeply offensive to members of the legal profession, and we hope to all Americans.” "

Also, "Christopher Moore, a lawyer at the New York firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton who represented an Uzbeki detainee who has since been released, said: “We believe in the concept of justice and that every person is entitled to counsel. Any suggestion that our representation was anything other than a pro bono basis is untrue and unprofessional.” Mr. Moore said he had made four trips to Guantánamo and one to Albania at the firm’s expense, to see his client freed."

PUNCHLINE:  I salute Karen Mathis, Christopher Moore and all those other lawyers and law firms who defend justice and liberty in spite of the vicious behaviour of the seriously misguided!  Bravo and keep it up!

Click here for a look at my June 24, 2005 related post