Saturday, September 22, 2007

Let's Play The Paul Nichols Game!

I haven't seen the offending piece myself, but today's Potomac News contains a letter discussing a mailer sent by 51st District Democrat candidate Paul Nichols, attacking Republican nominee Faisal Gill for being a member of a firm practicing immigration law:
In a recent mailing Paul Nichols suggests that Faisal Gill is somehow supportive of illegal aliens because he is an immigration attorney. He also suggests that this makes Gill unfit to run for office. As an attorney, he should know that charges against someone are not necessarily legitimate, and that counsel in legal matters should be available to everyone.
The author, of course, makes a good point. Not every attorney has the luxury of representing people who reflect their own views or seek ends identical to their own. Most make a decent, respectable living fulfilling their role in the justice system, honorably advocating their clients' positions.

Is this really the game that Nichols wants to play? Bashing an attorney for representing his clients? Perhaps he missed that day in law school in which the duties of an attorney to represent their clients and fulfill their role in the justice system, and the dualism between an attorney in his role as an attorney as distinct from his role as an individual, was explained.

But if that's the game he wants to play, we can have a lot of fun. After all, he's a divorce attorney ("a real shark in the courtroom," according to one of his former clients), and a good one, according to everyone to whom I have spoken. Does that mean he supports adultery? Spousal abuse? Child abuse? Certainly, over the years, his client list must include a few people engaging in these activities. He has a criminal law practice, too, according to his firm biography. Does he take the position that all were innocent? Unless, that is, he never lost a criminal case (unlikely; Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz famously observed that "Rule Number One in the criminal justice system is that most criminal defendants are guilty"). Furthermore, Nichols' firm represents injured persons. Ambulance chaser? Previously, the attack-dog tactics over Gill's work as an attorney (always failing to mention his service in the Navy's JAG Corps) have been performed by cutouts, attacking Gill while giving Nichols deniability, all while Nichols maintains the facade of respectability.

Does Nichols really want the illicit activities of his clients attributed to him? Apparently so.

After all, that's what he wants to do to Faisal Gill. It's a cheap shot, and ethically questionable. Professionally, it's simply wrong.

Not only does Nichols have some 'splainin' to do, he owes Gill an apology.

But you can play too! If you know of a client of Nichols or his firm, and his or her offense, attribute that activity to Nichols. Place your best, cheap-shot accusations in attributing the activities of Nichols' clients to Nichols himself in comments.

Turnabout is fair play, after all.

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