31 October 2008

Politics of Pregnancy

In an attempt to avoid working on my paper tonight (the doorbell won't stop ringing) I watched some TV; specifically a channel from California. It seems like every second commercial is either Vote Yes or Vote No on one of the many propositions Californians get to vote on Tuesday. The commercials between the proposition ones are for or against specific politicians. Political junkie that I am, I'm actually enjoying these commercials far more than the regular ones, but I digress.

The one that hit me tonight was the one for "Vote No on Prop 4." Prop 4 is known as "Sarah's Law" and if passed would amend the California constitution to require parents be notified if their daughter wants to have an abortion. See the commercial here. What struck me about it was the language used about pregnancy. The mother in the commercial says if her daughter got pregnant "I would be there for her to help her through that difficult time." While some may consider it subtle, that commercial seems to give pregnancy a very negative context. That has happened a lot lately. For example, Obama stated that if either of his daughters ended up pregnant, he wouldn't want to "punish them with a baby."

Since when is pregnancy a punishment? Or a difficult time? Shouldn't we view pregnancy as the beautiful process that brings a new life into the world? I know that a pregnancy can be an uncomfortable time for the mother (at least that's what my friends who are/have been pregnant have said), but it's certainly not a punishment. Generally people refer to pregnancy as a punishment when it was unplanned (usually in an outside of marriage context) but doesn't that just go to show how our culture has devalued sex? Let's face it; the natural result of sex is pregnancy. If we start calling pregnancy a punishment, then what are we saying about human sexuality? I think the true problem is that we have divorced conception from sex, and until our society reintegrates the two, abortion will be commonplace.

Personally, I much prefer Sarah Palin's response, calling an unplanned pregnancy a blessing. While the couple (or woman) may not have been ready to have the child, I believe that pregnancy will have a positive impact in their lives, if they give it a chance. The only punishment in a pregnancy is if the baby is aborted; and then, the punishment is visited on the innocent child.

All in all, I'm happy that this discussion is at least happening in the United States. There is a clear choice between the culture of life and the culture of death in their election, and several states have propositions on life and death issues on the ballot. I hope and pray that the people of the United States endorse life, but I am so proud of our neighbor to the south for at least having this discussion. In Canada, we seem to be far more apathetic. Not only were life issues non-existent in Canada's recent election, PM Stephan Harper said the issue wasn't even to be discussed. As long as abortion is permitted, pregnancy will be seen as a punishment, and another 2000 babies a week (in Canada alone- Stats Can 2004) will die from abortion.

I hope and pray that the culture of life triumphs over death on Tuesday, but most of all, I wish politicians would remember that they are elected by the people and should serve the people. Some of those people are the unborn. Since 1973, when the Roe decision was made, over 50 million Americans have been aborted. 25 million of those Americans would be eligible to vote on Tuesday. I wonder what difference their votes would make.

30 October 2008

Pro-life Campus Groups

UPDATE (Oct 31 3:20pm): I just received an e-mail saying the same thing has happened at the University of Victoria. See here for the story. If you would like to contact them to express your displeasure, here's the information:

UVic Students' Society
University of Victoria
PO Box 3035 STN CSC
Victoria, BC V8W 3P
Ph: (250) 472-4317
Fax: (250) 472-4851

It's happening again. University campuses, which are supposed to be bastions of free speech, are attempting to silence opinions that they don't agree with. On 21 October 2008 the University of Guelph's Central Student Association (CSA) refused to allow Guelph's pro-life club, Life Choice campus club status. See here for the original story. Yesterday, after almost 5h of debate, the CSA put the motion over for another week. Not only did they not make a decision, the CSA felt the atmosphere in the room was "unsafe" and moved its members to an in-camera session to finish the debate.

Life Choice was denied club status on the basis of last year's "Life Fair." It was alleged that "people had been harassed physically and handed offensive literature at the Life Fair." However, the life fair was last March, and the club was never made aware of complaints- at least, not until the CSA yanked their club status. See here for info on last night's meeting.

I encourage everyone to write to the CSA and express your feelings at this denial of free speech.

Central Student Association
Room 274, University Centre
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario
N1G 2W1
phone: 519-824-4120 ext. 56748
email: csatalk@uoguelph.ca

The pro-lifers at Guelph are facing the same battle that many other campuses have fought- McGill, York, Carleton and Capilano to name just a few. Always, the allegations are the same- essentially that the club's very existence offends the student union's rules around women's fundamental right to make their own choices. This is garbage, and we all know it. Section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives every Canadian the right to free speech. These clubs are simply exercising their right to free speech and association- a right that was upheld (shockingly) by the BC Human Rights Tribunal. While a Human Rights Tribunal carries no precedential value, a quasi-judicial body has upheld the right of pro-life clubs to exist on university campuses. And yet, despite that, University Student Unions feel they have the right to muzzle free speech on their campuses. That is wrong.

The expression of pro-life views is not hate speech.

The expression of pro-life views is not intolerance.

The expression of pro-life views does not violate women's rights.

The expression of pro-life views merely gives the unborn a voice. Isn't giving a voice to the vulnerable an action that should be supported?

Abortion is not a legal right in Canada, no matter what anyone argues. It is a practice that has absolutely NO laws governing it; one way or the other. Speech around abortion can never violate the law because there is no law. Thankfully my pro-life group has never had to face a challenge to its club status, but my prayers are with Guelph Life Choice's members and all people who advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.

All of us have a duty to speak out whenever free speech is muzzled, because if we don't, one day it we will be muzzled, and there will be no one there to save us. Please take a few minutes to contact the CSA and local Guelph papers. If we don't speak, who will?

29 October 2008

Chilling Class

In reading about euthanasia, especially the Latimer decision, what has always stuck out to me is how quickly people sympathize with Robert Latimer and ignore Tracy Latimer. (For anyone not familiar with the case, Tracy was Robert's 12 year old daughter who suffered from cerebral palsy. He killed her to "end her suffering" by piping carbon monoxide into the cab of his truck, and was convicted of 2nd degree murder). See here to read the case. However, I have never really discussed the case with anyone who wasn't anti-euthanasia.

Until today.

In Disability and the Law.

With 18 law students.

Who will eventually be in the position to shape policy and legislation and maybe even interpret the law.

And all I can say is that I was chilled by the absolute callousness of the discussion. Nobody wanted to judge what Robert Latimer did. One said that he couldn't begin to imagine how hard the decision must have been, and that he was sure Latimer only did it out of love. Another said that the case left out an essential fact; that "Tracy was suffering unbearably and her parents tried to get help for her, but no one would give it." This is a law student, who presumably read the case, and the article we were discussing. In that, it was quite clear that Tracey's parents viewed further surgeries, which would have eased her pain, to be mutilations they couldn't support. But yeah, the essential fact that there was nothing anyone could do to ease her suffering was left out. Grrr! Selective reading anyone?

And no one wanted to talk about it from Tracey's perspective. I find that interesting, because in the very first class of the year, the professor mentioned that one of the things that hurts people with disabilities the most is the fact that they suffer from "benign neglect." That is, we make policies and decisions based on able-bodied persons without thinking of the impacts on persons with disabilities. And he encouraged us always consider what the impact of a decision is on people with disabilities. But apparently we don't have to do that when we are talking about euthanizing persons with disabilities because they aren't autonomous and able to consent. I'm not making this up!

One of the things we are taught in law school is that we need to open our minds to consider all elements of the issue, right from the basics, but in this class, everyone just assumed that there is such a thing as a "life unworthy of living." In fact, several people used that exact phrase to discuss the Latimer and Rodriguez cases, and the euthanasia/assisted suicide debate in general. And yet, doesn't that phrase implicitly assume its premise; the very thing we are taught not to do?

These are the same people who dismissed the Hendin and Foley (106 Mich. L. Rev. 1613 2007-2008) report on Assisted Suicide in Oregon as "completely biased." Apparently Hendin and Foley are wrong to advocate for palliative care because that assumes everyone wants palliative care, and don't really want to die.

These are the same people who spent 15 minutes discussing whether suicide can actually be the "logical, reasoned and rational choice." We had to ask this because, as lawyers we have to start from the basics and question everything. They analogized choosing suicide to choosing to refuse treatment.

These are the same people who agreed the Supreme Court of Canada is a conservative institution because of the elites who are appointed to it, and believe that the courts judgments reflect how society used to be, not how it is today.

I could go on about this, but you get the idea. I was absolutely horrified by the entire discussion, even more so when I remembered that these are the people who will help you draft your will, power of attorney and advanced health directive. These are the people who will run for and win political office at all levels of government. These are the people who will become civil servants and draft legislation. These are the people who will be appointed to the bench to interpret the law.

Is anyone else chilled by this?

28 October 2008

Fallacy of the Living Tree

I spent today working on my major paper (in Law and Disability) on the topic of euthanasia of disabled infants and children, and I can't help but feel depressed by the relativism our society has embraced. I've read chilling journal articles that argue infants with disabilities should not live because their lives are not worth living. They are "damaged" and "different" and "not normal." The children's doctors and parents are choosing to "end the suffering" by actively or passively euthanizing these children. That is murder- infanticide, and should be punished to the full extent of the law. Instead, some countries, like the Netherlands, have passed, or are considering passing laws, that allow for children to be euthanized because their lives will be full of pain and suffering. These types of laws generally follow after euthanasia and assisted suicide are legalized.

Thankfully, Canada has not legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide. In the Rodriguez [1993] 3 S.C.R. 519 decision, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, denied the right to assisted suicide to Sue Rodriguez. The majority's main concern was the public policy issues it raised, and the slippery slope arguments. However, that was 15 years ago. The composition of the court has changed, and I fear that if the right test case was brought before the court, that decision would be reversed, and euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada would be legalized. Jocelyn Downey, the Canada Research Chair on Health Law, has stated publicly that she is looking for the next Rodriguez to attempt to overturn the criminal code provisions against assisted suicide.

This brings me to the point of this entry. I find it incredibly frustrating that once an issue is decided, our legal system allows it to be continually looked at, and the Supreme Court has the power to overturn previous decisions on essentially a whim. What gives them that power? Our constitution apparently. The court claims they have the right to interpret the laws passed by our elected Parliament. This is to prevent antiquated laws, which violated modern social mores and norms, from holding Canada back. This is referred to as the living tree doctrine, and the court uses it regularly to overturn the common law, and laws crafted by Parliament. The idea is that the constitution should be read in a purposive way, allowing it to change with the times.

This means that no matter how many times an issue comes before the court, it is always open to them to redefine the issue so it fits in with what they see as the modern understanding. So, notwithstanding that precedent set in Rodriguez, a Supreme Court today could rule in the opposite direction. No matter how many precedents there are, the court is free to overturn the current law. Can anyone say relativism??? It also depresses me. We can work hard to prevent the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide in case after case, but even if we defeat it 100 times, the 101st time, it's open to the court to look at the constitutional question and say we should use the living tree doctrine.

And yet, even if that's true, we have a duty to fight the good fight in every case, and to put forward the best possible argument no matter what, because if nothing else, history shows us that once something becomes legal, it becomes even harder to root out. Funny how the court never uses the living tree doctrine for then.

27 October 2008

The Dignity of the Person

An Australian "artist" presented a display of his photographs in New York City after having ignited a furor over his work published in an Australian magazine. Why the controversy? His exhibition contains nude photographs of underage young girls. Some people have claimed that the images are pornography, he and the magazine claim they are art, and that the girl's parents gave consent for the photographs to be taken. For detailed facts, read this.

The debate over pornography vs. art is a long one, and gets even more heated when you are talking about images of children- do they constitute child pornography? If they do, then the images are criminal and an offence in the Criminal Code. The Supreme Court, in R. v. Sharpe [2001] 1 SCR 45, held that freedom of expression in s 2(b) of the Charter does not extend to cover child pornography. As a society, we have decided that child pornography is wrong, but in the wake of changes to the social mores of the Western world, I wonder how long that will last.

I believe that our society is increasingly sexualizing children, especially girls at a young age. It's an interesting shift from how things "used to be." Our modern, progressive society is horrified that we used to treat children as miniature adults. During the industrial revolution (and before) they held jobs at an early age, and helped to provide for their families. We've now passed child labor laws to prevent that, so we can let kids just be kids. Or have we just exchanged one type of miniature adults for another one?

An example of this can be seen in girl's fashions. We put little girls in clothes that emphasize their sexuality; their clothes reveal "assets" that haven't even developed yet, and we market make-up and beauty tools to increasingly younger and younger children. We ask the girls to dress older, look old, to embrace their sexuality, and then we toss up our hands and wonder why my generation and the younger generation have so many issues. Why do we feel the need to take the innocence of our children so early? Why do we want to erase and destroy that spirit and turn it into an adult with adult issues and problems? Why has our society launched an all out war on the dignity of the human person?

I think this really began in the 1960's. During the sexual revolution, everyone was encouraged to do whatever felt right. Women were to shake off the oppression of men and indulge in sex on their own terms. This was supposed to be empowering. Here we are 40 years later, and that long dark road has all but erased the dignity of the human person, and as the debate around child pornography continues, we are erasing that dignity at an earlier age. This is not empowerment, it is objectification. Popular music all but screams this objectification, calling women ho's and bitches to be slapped around. Any man who opens a door or acts with any chivalry is mercilessly mocked, or is accused of chauvinism.

Sex has been trivialized, mocked and abused, much like the dignity of the men and women who engage in it so freely. Its beauty has been denied in popular culture, and this has cheapened and degraded everyone. If, as a society, we recognized and appreciated the dignity of every person, inherent in them because we are created in God's image and likeness, how many of society's ills would fix themselves? How many marriages would last and how many children would be allowed to keep their innocence and not grow up faster than they should? How many children would be allowed to live? How many vulnerable people would be allowed, not only to live, but to share their special gifts and graces with us all?

This may all sound pie in the sky, and it maybe is, but I just want everyone to stop and think when they read the news, watch TV or read a magazine. Is Mr. Henson's photography child porn or art? The court seems to think it's art, but maybe, just maybe, we shouldn't be allow the court to make our decisions for us; we should stop to think for ourselves; is what we are reading or watching demonstrating the dignity of every human, or is it destroying it?

If you want to see what started this rather random, incoherent rant, read this.

24 October 2008

60th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights

On 10 December 1948, the UN enacted the Declaration of Human Rights. (You can read the full text of the convention here.)The purpose of the Declaration is to recognize certain rights as universal, and to oblige all nations ensure all people have those rights. The rights are basic- the right to life, liberty and security of the person, right to recognition as a person before the law, the right to be free from slavery and torture; the list goes on.

However, there are radical pro-abortion forces that want to enshrine abortion as a basic human right in the Declaration during the 60th Anniversary celebrations. While the Declaration is not a legally binding in the way a convention is, it prohibits states from violating anything declared a "right" in the convention, and basically gives those rights precedence over everything else. If the pro-abortion forces are successful, prohibiting abortion (for any reason) would not be allowed under international law.

I think this is wrong, and so does an organization called C-FAM (Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute). They have organized a petition asking UN Member states to interpret the Declaration to protect the unborn child from abortion. If you agree, please sign the petition here, or for more information on C-FAM go here.

23 October 2008

The Red Mass

The St. Thomas More Lawyer's Guild had its annual Red Mass tonight. It's a mass where lawyers, judges, politicians and law enforcement personnel gather to pray for the outpouring of Holy Spirit on all who are involved in the administration of justice. I went last year too, but tonight I heard the most AMAZING homily I have ever heard. The Roman Catholic Bishop and the Ukrainian Catholic Bishop co-celebrated, but the Ukrainian Catholic Bishop gave the homily. He's newly appointed to the diocese, and I've never heard him speak before, but he was amazing.

The mass had the who's who of the local legal profession in attendance- the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal, several other justices, the provincial attorney general, a city councilor, the superintendant of city police, the dean of the law school, several QC's and a whole host of lawyers and law students. Last year's homily by the RC bishop was pretty wishy washy and feel good- about how we should all help those in need and use our legal skills for the benefit of all. There was absolutely no comparison with this year's homily. I know that I had the stupidest looking grin on my face, and it just got bigger as the homily went on.

He started the homily by referencing Bill C-38 (same sex marriage) and moved quickly to talk about how moral relativism pervades our society, and how as Catholics and lawyers we have a duty to use our God given talents in the law to work to defend objective truth and to show that there is objective truth in our the way we live our lives. He then spoke about the inherent dignity of every human being, and how we have a duty to ensure the law recognizes this. He stated that life is more than a human right; it is part of our human dignity that comes from Christ. I am doing a terrible job of paraphrasing his homily, but essentially he told everyone there that to be Catholic means that they have to reject relativism and work to promote human dignity in all forms of human life (including the unborn, disabled and terminally ill). I have never, ever heard a priest, let alone a bishop spend an entire homily on the inherent dignity of all humans. This homily was an exhortation to follow church teachings, and it was directed at a crowd that is rather hostile to that message. (I heard mutterings and whisperings all around me)

The Bishop was an amazing witness of the gospel message. I spoke with him after mass, and he said he wasn't sure what to speak about- he said it was intimidating getting up before the chief justice to speak when he has no legal training, but the Holy Spirit must have inspired that homily, because there was no hesitation in the message- just a confident priest speaking to his flock. And if people don't like the message, that's just too bad for them. If they are going to call themselves Catholic, the least they can do is follow church teachings. I told the Bishop how much I appreciated hearing his homily. It makes it much easier to be a Catholic lawyer in a secular world.

I don't often hear a homily that sticks with me like this one did, and when I do hear one, I am reminded of how much I love the church. There is objective truth, and relativism is wrong. I have been so impressed with bishops lately- they have been speaking out about life issues with increasing regularity this year- especially the US Bishops. All I can say to end this is God Bless the bishop and all priests, religious and laity who speak the truth without hesitation or fear.

The Devil’s in the Details

I love the detailed nature of legal work. I love how you take a fact situation and immerse yourself in it, looking at it from all angles, trying to determine the best way to proceed in order to put your client's interests first. A legal problem is like a big puzzle all jumbled together, waiting for you to put it together correctly. Some people say that lawyers spend all their time trying to find loopholes in the law, and in many ways I think that is an accurate statement. And I think that is where lawyers get into trouble.

The first question many people ask me, when I discuss criminal law, is how can defense lawyer's defend scum like that. Quite honestly, that's one reason I don't think I can ever practice criminal law. The standard answer may defense lawyers give is that everyone is entitled to the best defense they can get. Our justice system is adversarial, and to find the truth, both sides need to state the best case they can. That answer has never satisfied me, and I think a truer answer, but harder to explain is that they love the challenge and puzzle of it all. There is something exhilarating about taking a problem that seems unsolvable and solving it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending the position, but something happened today that makes me understand it in a way I never thought I would.

I'm taking family law this semester. It's not a course I wanted to take, but my principle for articling told me to, and every firm I interviewed with suggested it was a good idea. I went into the class planning to hate every minute of it. Instead, it's my favorite class of the semester, and quite possibly of law school (although I don't know that anything can ever beat tax). My prof is excellent; very witty, cynical and sarcastic, but he knows the law inside and out. He's making me want to reconsider my decision to never practice family law. We were discussing the valuation, exemptions and exceptions with regard to family property today. The whole goal is to frame your client's assets in a way that gives them the greatest share they can possibly get of the family property during the divorce. And it's all detail work; knowing your case inside and out.

I caught myself thinking tonight "I could do this, I could practice family law." I love how detail oriented it is, and how it all fits within a precise framework. But I can't; and I lost sight of that for a little while this evening. I'm not against practicing family law because it's messy or boring; I'm against it because large parts of it violate Catholic teachings. That's not something I can ignore, but for a few minutes tonight, I let myself get sucked into enjoying the details; the puzzling nature of it, and forgot all the ethical issues that arise around it. The church doesn't allow divorce. Marriage is a sacrament and is the joining of two people by God. It's not a legal institution. As a society, we have given it a legal nature, but at its core it is a sacrament that creates a bond that cannot be dissolved.

But working through the details is such fun! I didn't want to let this go, so I googled it, thinking that maybe I could find a way around this problem. (That's what lawyers do after all; search for loopholes) But there is no loophole to be found here, and I'm ashamed to say that I actually spent time trying to find a loophole in God's laws. (That's the whole pride thing) Instead of finding a way to practice it, I ran smack into a 2002 pronouncement made by JPII that essentially asks Catholic lawyers to refuse to handle divorce cases. He called divorce an evil spreading like a plague through society, and said lawyers should not aid that evil.

See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1787106.stm

While divorce is not all that is involved in family law, it certainly makes up a large part of the practice of family law. I certainly cannot hold myself out as a family law lawyer and not do divorces, so I guess I will just have to find another area of law that needs the same detailed, problem solving approach. Yet, I know that I'm going to have to do some family law for my articles. How do I reconcile that with my faith and avoid serving evil as JPII asks of us? I don't know, but I trust that when the situation arises, I won't be alone in trying to figure it out, and I will just have to cross that bridge when I come to it. And will just have to enjoy the intricate details of tax law.

21 October 2008

And just when I thought I'd heard it all...

I learned something very scary in Health Law today. Apparently it was common practice, up until about 10 years ago, for medical students to do unauthorized pelvic examinations on anesthetized female patients for learning purposes. The women who were victims of this wouldn't even know that it had been done. Some teaching hospitals still follow this practice, but many have changed their policy- not because the doctors found it to be unethical, but because the students have a problem with it. Good for the students for standing up against this, but what are the professors and practitioners doing the teaching thinking?

The medical rationale is that med students need to learn how to do proper pelvic exams, and that takes practice. Pelvic exams are one of the most private exams women undergo, and few will consent to one by anyone other than their doctor. A pelvic exam conducted by someone who hasn't had a lot of practice can be very painful for the woman involved. Unconscious, anesthetized women are the perfect practice subjects because they are relaxed.

For an in depth discussion of this, see: http://www.cnn.com/2003/HEALTH/03/11/pelvic.exams.ap/

My problem with this practice is the fact that the women (and some men in the case of prostate exams) involved have not had the opportunity to consent to this procedure. We are all autonomous beings with the right (assuming we have capacity) to determine what we want done to our bodies, and to consent to it. As Justice Cardozo famously stated in Schloendoff v. Society of New York Hospital, 211 N.Y. 125(1914), "Every human being of adult years and sound mind has the right to determine what shall be done with his own body."

An unauthorized pelvic exam violates the right of women, and, in my opinion, should constitute a battery, actionable in a civil suit. Some hospitals have included this in their general consent form, but it's not explicitly stated, and is generally just covered by a general clause stating that teaching may occur in the surgical process. I have no problem with these exams if the women explicitly consent to it, but without informing them, they are being violated. I won't go as far as some commentators and call it rape, because I think that is a very different situation, but it is battery.

I guess the bottom line is that before you undergo any surgery where you will be anesthetized, discuss this with your doctor, and make it very clear that you do or do not consent to such an exam. All in all, the best thing you can do is ask as many questions as you can so you know exactly what the doctor intends to do to you.

20 October 2008

St. Thomas More

Starting a blog is something I've been thinking about doing for awhile now, and tonight I decided that I might as well do it. I intend to use this blog to highlight Catholicism and the law; two very important aspects of my life. As I have been learning lately, it can be hard/seem to be hard to reconcile the two aspects, and I intend for this to be a forum where I can post about both, and try to work through the difficulties.

I'm in my last year of law school right now, and I'll be starting articling and a career next year, and I know that these are conflicts I will have to deal with my whole life, so I better figure out how to deal with them now. Reconciling the Catholic faith and secular law is something lawyers have had to deal with for a very long time, but that doesn't make it any easier.

For example, St. Thomas More was a lawyer, and also a strong Catholic. He worked his way up through the secular ranks in the court of Henry VIII of England. For awhile, St. Thomas served as Henry's Chancellor. However, Henry and Thomas had different ideas over marriage and obedience to the church (Henry VIII was the monarch who had 6 wives, and created the Anglican church when the Pope refused to annul his marriage) and St. Thomas was eventually charged and executed for treason, because he refused to put Henry's law above God's law. On the scaffold, St. Thomas famously said "I die the King's good servant, but God's first."

While that obviously is an extreme example, as a Catholic, I am called to live God's law in every aspect of my daily life. I can't simply put aside church teaching whenever I feel like it or when it inconveniences my life. Not if I truly call myself Catholic. Will I be Prime Minister of Canada (or something equally high up like St. Thomas) not likely, but there are still Church teachings that conflict with the law that I am to work toward, and I have to learn how to deal with those conflicts.

So, I'd like to end this post with a prayer St. Thomas wrote, and suggest that it sums up perfectly what I have been trying to explain in this post:

Lord, grant that I may be able in argument,
Accurate in analysis,
Strict in study,

Candid with clients,

And honest with adversaries.

Sit with me at my desk

And listen with me

To my clients plaints,
Read with me in my library,

And stand beside me in court,

So that today I shall not,
In order to win a point,

Lose my soul.