Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gitmo Lawyers

Here is an excellent piece on how "chic" it is to be a lawyer for Guantanamo detainees. The most prestigious law firms want this on their resume:

Last year, at a dinner at Washington's Ritz-Carlton hotel, the National Legal Aide Defender Association bestowed its "Beacon of Justice Award" on 50 law firms for their pro bono work on behalf of the detainees.

These firms in turn are joined by law professors from Stanford, Yale and Northwestern right on down to Fordham.

Did you get that? 50 law firms. Not lawyers, law firms. Literally hundreds lawyers are involved. And then they pat themselves on the back, giving each other awards at fancy high priced award dinners for their pro bono work. It's enough to make one want to hurl a shoe.

So let's look at the other side. Let's look at the lawyers working on behalf of the government to keep us safe. 60 or so Justice Department lawyers are handling the bulk of the legal load of 200 Gitmo detainees filing for habeas corpus in federal district courts. But as the article points out, no big time law firms are offering their service pro bono to help them keep us safe. No, it's much more PC and honorable somehow to help those accused of being a danger to America.

The imbalance was illustrated by a scene last week at the federal courthouse building in Washington, D.C. There Judge Thomas Hogan was to consider rules governing the habeas corpus petitions of the detainees. That meant half a dozen Justice Department lawyers waiting in a room packed wall-to-wall with high-priced partners -- many backed up by legions of associates, outside legal experts, human-rights centers, and concerned law students.

Isn't this a perfect example of why we hate lawyers so much?

The bottom line? "dozens of the world's most dangerous men now have their own legal Dream Teams."

h/t BigDog