The Importance of Being Honest: How Lying, Secrecy, and Hypocrisy Collide with Truth in Law

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Overview

Popular author Steven Lubet brings his signature blend of humor, advocacy, and legal ethics to The Importance of Being Honest, an incisive analysis of how honesty and law play out in current affairs and historical events. Drawing on original work as well as op-ed pieces and articles that have appeared in the American Lawyer, the Chicago Tribune, and many other national publications, Lubet explores the complex aspects of honesty in the legal world.

The Importance of Being Honest is full of tales of questionable practices and poor behavior, chosen because negative examples are much richer, and often more remarkable, in their ultimate lessons. Wyatt Earp's shootout with Billy Clanton, Bill Clinton's disastrous decision to lie under oath, Oscar Wilde's self-destructive perjury in a 1896 libel trial, and the dubious resolution of Justice Scalia's duck hunting trip with Dick Cheney are only a few of the cases Lubet use to illustrate that law is a vague and boggy realm where truth, and falsehood, is seldom absolute. With his lively, insightful, and sometimes hilarious prose, Lubet takes readers on a tour of the law in our everyday lives, and forces us to rethink how we really feel about honesty and truth.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Lubet tackles a series of subtle and thorny ethical questions that lawyers and judges face each day. These questions can challenge their integrity, determine their effectiveness and affect how the public views the legal profession. Lubet’s central concern, which he mines adeptly, is with actions that are arguably legal but may also be strategically or morally wrong. Lubet’s writing is a great strength: straightforward, funny, intelligent and devoid of legalese. Like a good color analyst, he conveys an insiders knowledge in an entertaining and informative way.”
-Publishers Weekly

,

The Importance of Being Honest is both funny and dangerous. In pulling the lid off the hypocrisy and delusions at virtually every level of the legal profession, he is in danger of touching off a chain reaction that could result in the average Americans understanding and thus his and her ability to reform the legal system.”
-Allen Barra,Wall Street Journal

“Lubet probes some of the thorniest ethical and legal questions facing us, and respects both his reader and the law enough to avoid simplistic answers. Whether hes scrutinizing Bill Clinton’s relationship to his lawyer, reassessing what we know about the Scopes Monkey trial, or evaluating the demotion of Pluto, Lubet’s book offers a fresh lens through which to view legal questions.”
-Dahlia Lithwick,Slate.com

“Lubet is so witty and entertaining that you may not even notice how much you’re learning about the dangers of honesty-deficient lawyers and judges. A real eye-opener!”
-Rachel Maines,author of The Technology of Orgasm: Hysteria, the Vibrator, and Womens Sexual Satisfaction

“Chock full of information and insight.”
-St. Croix Review

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Publishers Weekly

Lubet, a law professor at Northwestern (Lawyers' Poker: 52 Lessons That Lawyers Can Learn from Card Players) tackles a series of subtle and thorny ethical questions that lawyers and judges face each day. These questions can challenge their integrity, determine their effectiveness and affect how the public views the legal profession. Lubet chooses a few notorious examples to showcase his points, such as the ethical questions raised by Supreme Court Justice Scalia's duck-hunting trip with Vice President Cheney (should the justice have recused himself in Sierra Club v. Cheney?) and Bill Clinton's infamous Monica Lewinsky deposition (did he lie to his lawyer?). Many of Lubet's examples are about less public conundrums, such as what lawyers should do if they make a mistake and the problem of judicial bullies. Lubet's central concern, which he mines adeptly, is with actions that are arguably legal but may also be strategically or morally wrong. Lubet's writing is a great strength: straightforward, funny, intelligent and devoid of legalese. Like a good color analyst, he conveys an insider's knowledge in an entertaining and informative way. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814752210
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,439,858
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Lubet is the Williams Memorial Professor of Law at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. He is the author of a dozen books, including Nothing but the Truth: Why Lawyers Don't, Can't, and Shouldn't Have to Tell the Whole Truth (NYU Press) and over 100 articles. He also writes an award-winning column for the American Lawyer magazine. His commentaries have been head on National Public Radios Morning Edition, and his op-ed columns have appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other major national newspapers.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

I Clients

Introduction 13

1 Sex, Lies, and Depositions 14

2 My Lawyer Made Me Do It 19

3 Morally Gray 23

4 McKinney's Bluff 26

5 The Truth about Torts 29

6 A Missing Witness 36

7 Freedom Stories 40

8 The Importance of Being Honest 44

II Lawyers

Introduction 57

9 False Flats 59

10 Who Deserves the Truth? 65

11 When Honesty Isn't Enough 68

12 Hypocrisy on the Left 72

13 Requiem for a Faithful Lawyer 77

14 Evolution of Myth 80

15 Hidden Interests 84

16 When Conventional Wisdom Goes Wrong 87

17 Sensory Deception 91

18 How Lawyers (Ought to) Think 95

19 Truth in Humor 102

20 Confronting Cougars 111

III Judges

Introduction 117

21 Life Imitates Baseball 118

22 The Elusive Transparency of Ethics 123

23 Ducks in a Row 127

24 An Honest Day's Pay 134

25 Confirmation Mud 139

26 A Spouse Speaks 145

27 Veiled Justice 150

28 Bullying from the Bench 155

29 Thought Control 162

30 Platonic Censures 167

31 Stupid Judge Tricks 172

IV Academics

Introduction 179

32 Baring It All 180

33 False Positive 184

34 Truth in Citizenship 188

35 The Best Policy 194

36 Clinical Commandments 198

37 Pluto's Plight, and Ours 203

38 The Bedouin Horse Trade 207

39 There Are No Scriveners Here 215

V Medical Practice

Introduction 223

40 Ethics Business 224

41 Mistakes and Cover-Ups 229

42 The Benevolent Otolaryngologist 235

43 Desperate Doctors, Desperate Measures 242

Afterword 247

Notes and Sources 251

Index 261

About the Author 269

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