Bar News - January 5, 2007
Death Penalty for Hussein Unjust
Occasionally we might want to take an interest in matters that touch our profession indirectly but touch it nonetheless. The recent trial of President Saddam Hussein was paid for by our government. That our taxes financed a mockery of justice and a disgrace to the rule of law should at least be noted.
A death sentence imposed by a kangaroo court is a black mark against all Americans—especially those whose calling is to uphold the legal process. If Saddam used brutal means to keep good order in his country, our occupation proves, in spades, that those are the only means with any possibility of succeeding there. The argument over how many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been massacred on our watch shows that we can be just as brutal—without any positive results.
As a former attorney general of the United States, Ramsey Clark is part of the defense team. His opinions are perhaps at least worth looking at, as are those of most of our allies in Europe and even the Vatican. All agree that a death sentence here is an affront to what our civilization stands for.
Against LAP, But Disagrees with Sorg
Regarding Gregory Sorg’s Opinion piece on the Lawyers’ Assistance Program (page 4, NH Bar News, Dec. 15, 2006) me thinks the lad doth protest too much! Given the timing of its publication, perhaps it would have been appropriate to add that a lawyer in need of assistance be buried with a stake of holly through his or her heart, and be done with. It is Mr. Sorg’s apparent absence of compassion for those who do not choose as he would that troubles me.
I am glad to learn that those who choose to practice in The Shire are happy and content (“balanced,” I believe); however, Sorg [misunderstands] the nature of the practice in the world of men(and women). Indeed, he tars with too broad a brush. There is no doubt stress in working for a large firm.
It is likewise stressful working for a small firm and as a sole practitioner. Such attorneys can be found in Manchester and Concord, as well as “small towns” like Goffstown and Epsom. In my experience, it is these latter folk who are most likely to need the occasional support of their brothers and sisters in the profession. It was not that many years ago that a local sole practitioner relieved his stress by way of suicide.
Nevertheless, I agree that the program should not be funded by a mandatory assessment on the members of the New Hampshire Bar. Not every lawyer practicing outside of The Shire is seeking wealth and prestige, as Mr. Sorg would have us believe. In fact, it is often financial difficulties that arise in trying to raise a family and support a practice, and perhaps repay educational loans that lead to damaging behaviors and leave one in need of assistance. Adding yet another financial burden would be contradictory to the very purpose of such a program, and could in fact create more souls seeking help (would the assessment thus increase in such a circumstance?).
Rather, it is in the nature of a moral obligation upon those in the Association who care about their colleagues and have the wherewithal to help, as is the case with the New Hampshire Bar Foundation. This is the epitome of the “professionalism” of which the Association speaks so frequently.
For reasons that profoundly differ from those cited by Mr. Sorg, I concur that support of the Lawyers’ Assistance Program should not be mandated.
James M. Warren