Lawyers Should Be Held Accountable for Their Firms' Work

RECEIVED Mon., Dec. 22, 2003

Dear Editor,
   May this lawyer of 33 years who served as Sen. Carlos Truan's redistricting counsel during the 77th Legislature and who first saw battle at age 16 in Ralph Yarborough's 1952 race for governor point out the poor reasoning contained in both Louis Black's column of Dec. 19 ["Page Two"] and also in the letters from Tommy Jacks, Rich Gray, and others ["Postmarks," Dec. 19].
   Folks, real Democrats do not become partners in law firms which represent Republican interests! The only way one can attempt to rationalize earning a six-figure income as a partner at a major establishment law firm and still claim to be some kind of a Democrat is to maintain that she is simply a value-neutral technocrat. There are a few I've known who offer another explanation, one that resembles the well-known story of the piano player in the bawdy house who claimed to have no knowledge of the kind of business conducted elsewhere on the premises.
   Check out the list of leading law firms which gave large sums of money to the Bush campaign at There you will see Locke Liddell and all the other big firms listed for hundreds of thousands of dollars given to numerous Republican campaigns (and a few sell-out Democrats who vote with Republicans on critical issues).
   Since the 13th Amendment abolished both slavery and involuntary servitude, it is no longer possible for a candidate seeking the Democratic nomination to say, "I was forced to earn a six-figure income at Locke Liddell; they made me sign the pleadings filed on behalf of Rick Perry in court in the redistricting lawsuits of 2001."
   Chronicle readers should be sophisticated enough to comprehend that being pro-choice but also representing Rick Perry in court on redistricting at a law firm like Locke Liddell does not make one a liberal or a Democrat.
   The straw man which Tommy Jacks and Rick Gray attempt to set up when they analogize volunteer ACLU lawyers with the highly paid partners in establishment law firms will not stand even a cursory examination. Likewise, criminal defense lawyers do not earn their living representing political players and economic interests which rank among the top contributors to the Bush campaign and which day-in and day-out consistently oppose the interests of consumers, workers, environmentalists, and just plain folks.
   Beware of establishment lawyers who billed the state of Texas for big bucks while representing Rick Perry and who now tell you what good Democrats they are.
Dave Shapiro
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