November 2018

24 Nov 18

In Lawyers as Upholders of Human Dignity, Georgetown Law Professor and legal ethics guru David Luban explains how advancing and maintaining human dignity is a fundamental cornerstone of our profession. Indeed, it is  “what makes the practice of law worthwhile.” 

Defining dignity as a “property of relationships between humans”, Prof. Luban articulates how the right to legal representation in criminal cases neatly encapsulates the notion of the law as a defender of human dignity. Prof. Luban starts with the premise that if human dignity is to mean anything at all, it must mean that every human has the right to have her story heard, particularly if the consequences at stake are moral condemnation, and loss of life or liberty, in the form of criminal sanction. “A procedural system that simply gagged a litigant and refused to even consider her version of the case would be, in effect, treating her story as if it did not exist, and treating her point of view as if it were literally beneath contempt.”