Eliminate the lawyers, the first step in martial law.

I don't get political all that often here on The Settlement Channel but todays banner headline in the New York Times regarding the imposition of martial law in Pakistan jumped out at me. Pakistan Attempts to Crush Protests by Lawyers I won't get into the politics of Pakistan, but essentially the Pakistani President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf imposed martial law a few days ago and the first resistance to this grab at power in a democracy struggling with tremendous internal issues was by the lawyers in the society. It brought to mind a discussion that Rick Kuykendall and Jan Schlichtmann had on the Legal Broadcast Network a few months back that evolved into the importance of attorneys in maintaining the basic freedoms of citizens in a democracy. You can see that video by clicking here or just clicking on the box below. In this video Rick and Jan start out discussing the use of a 468b trust and the ethical implications of mass tort practice in using this tool. However, as it goes along it evolves into a discussion of how state and federal governments are further and further restricting access to the courts of American citizens and that there is now a clear and strong alignment with corporate interests at the federal and state level on most legal issues. In the last few minutes of the video it gets into the role of trial lawyers in the often lonely fight to maintain the basic freedoms of American citizens and how the idea of " first kill all the lawyers" is in fact the initial action of any dictatorship going all the way back to Shakespere and King Henry VI. This phenonmenon, of "first killing the lawyers" is exactly what is happening in Pakistan at the moment, as the first and often last line of defense of personal freedom and liberty of a society is the lawyers fighting to retain consitiutional protections. I'd suggest more American's watch Pakistan closely, observe what happens to the lawyers and then take a look at this video. Reflect a bit about what Rick and Jan are trying to say the next time someone makes a disparaging remark about trial lawyers and their role in US society. We as a society have become so fat, complacent and clueless that we are to often willing to trade basic legal rights and freedoms that our fathers fought and died for, in exchange for a few pennies of savings on our auto insurance policy. In Pakistan they are fighting for things we have come to take for granted and it's the attorneys struggling to maintain those freedom often at risk of their own life and liberty.
Posted on November 6, 2007 .