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Daniel Markovits in Conversation with David Bromwich
Daniel Markovits in Conversation with David Bromwich — A Modern Legal Ethics: Adversary Advocacy in a Democratic Age
Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 at 5:30PM — Labyrinth Books NH (NH)

Labyrinth Books and the Yale Law Library invite you to the store for a discussion between Daniel Markovits and David Bromwich on issues ranging from legal ethics to political philosophy. We will be honoring the publication of Professor Markovits's new book.

Daniel Markovits reinterprets the positive law governing lawyers to identify fidelity as its organizing ideal. Unlike ordinary loyalty, fidelity requires lawyers to repress their personal judgments concerning the truth and justice of their clients' claims. Next, the book asks what it is like--not psychologically but ethically--to practice law subject to the self-effacement that fidelity demands. Fidelity requires lawyers to lie and to cheat on behalf of their clients. However, an ethically profound interest in integrity gives lawyers reason to resist this characterization of their conduct. Any legal ethics adequate to the complexity of lawyers' lived experience must address the moral dilemmas immanent in this tension. The dominant approaches to legal ethics cannot. Finally, A Modern Legal Ethics reintegrates legal ethics into political philosophy in a fashion commensurate to lawyers' central place in political practice. Lawyerly fidelity supports the authority of adjudication and thus the broader project of political legitimacy.

Throughout, the book rejects the casuistry that dominates contemporary applied ethics in favor of an interpretive method that may be mimicked in other areas. Moreover, because lawyers practice at the hinge of modern morals and politics, the book's interpretive insights identify--in an unusually pure and intense form--the moral and political conditions of all modernity.

"This book addresses both lawyers interested in moral theory and philosophers interested in what lawyers do. The author pulls off the remarkable feat of making law accessible to nonlawyers and philosophy accessible to nonphilosophers--without dumbing down either discourse. Scrupulous and balanced, this book is a real and substantial contribution to the field."--Brad Wendel, Cornell University

Daniel Markovits is a professor at Yale Law School. David Bromwich is Sterling Professor of English at Yale. His interests range from Romanticism, to modern poetry, to political and moral philosophy. His books include Disowned by Memory, Skeptical Music, and an anthology of American Sonnets edited for the Library America. His articles and reviews frequently appear in the TLS, London Review, New Republic, and The Nation and he is currently at work on an intellectual biography of Burke.


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