The Legal Profession Prepares for President Trump

There is palpable sense of anxiety and confusion among lawyers and legal scholars on how to respond to the new political order, as the President Trump is sworn in and his administration prepares to begin its work.

Many lawyers, who took an active role during the campaign in opposition to candidate Trump, have chosen to be cautious, preferring to take a wait and see attitude as the new administration starts to put its promises made during the campaign into practice.  Others have shown no such inhibitions and have publicly vowed to oppose the new President, even before he gets started.

According to Dr. Dariush Adli, President of the highly-respected Los Angeles based ADLI Law Group, which is highly regarded for advising domestic and international corporations and businesses in legal disputes around the globe, “unfortunately, some lawyers have chosen to veer beyond their realm, which is straightforward practice of law, to take on the role of political activists, which, many regard as improper and is fraught with danger of harming the reputation of the legal profession.”

Dr. Adli cautions lawyers to keep a clear line between their advocacy of law and overtly political positions, “there is nothing wrong with lawyers advocating and advancing political positions as politicians.  In fact, lawyers have traditionally formed a large percentage of our elected officials, including, members of congress, governors, senators, legislators, mayors, etc.  However, these lawyers-turned-politicians have openly chosen politics as their profession.  The danger to the credibility of the legal profession arises when lawyers advance dubious legal theories to advance a political agenda.”

Some bigger law firms have more selfish reasons for taking a cautious approach to politics.  These firms seek to avoid the risk of offending their politically conservative clients, many of whom strongly object to the firms who represent them taking on the role of overt political advocacy.

According to Dr. Adli, “it is no secret that lawyers have traditionally leaned to the left of the political spectrum, often to the dismay of Republican politicians.  Many of us remember the brawl between the State Bar of California and then governor Pete Wilson in the 1990’s when governor Wilson cut funding for the California State Bar after complaining about their repeated opposition to his policies.”

Many lawyers are heading to Washington this week, seeking job opportunities in the new administration.  As with any transition of power involving a change from one political party to another, the new administration will seek to implement many changes in policies of the previous one.  In this case, the Trump team is expected to seek major changes in the areas of health care, environment, the infrastructure and taxes, which should provide plenty of legal job opportunities for lawyers to get involved with.

However, not all lawyers descending on Washington in the coming days and weeks will be seeking to work with the new administration.  This week, a group of lawyers, known as “Lawyers for Good Government” is planning a two day conference in Washington D.C. discussing how to oppose President Trump and his policies.

Dr. Adli cautions his colleagues that “attorneys who nakedly take on the role of political activists, risk negatively impacting the reputation of the legal profession in the eyes of the voters, who have just elected a new president and expect that the new administration be given some breathing room to implement the policies on which Mr. Trump ran and was elected.”

© 2017 Dr. Dariush Adli