First of its kind: Legal Ethics in Chinese

If you can read Chinese and are interested in legal ethics, the very first book ever published in Taiwan on legal ethics is now available at bookstores near you. The title is美國法律倫理 and it features true stories of greed, sleaze and general malfeasance carried out by a rouges gallery of California attorneys. It discusses such important topics as when can an attorney have sex with their clients without running afoul of the California State Bar Discipline Committee and how not to bribe a judge.

All of this is available from Cite publishers for a mere $350 New Taiwan dollars.

Take care,
Dr. Brian
Doctor of Legal Ethics

[quote=“brianlkennedy”]All of this is available from Cite publishers for a mere $350 New Taiwan dollars.

I’d pay that for an attorney hunting permit.

Congratulations Brian. :bravo: I wish I could read Chinese, in which case I’d definitely buy a copy of that along with Poagoa’s book. More importantly, i hope it will be read by Taiwan lawyers. Do they teach ethics in law school here? Can you get them to buy/use your book?

Mother Theresa, thanks much. To answer your question, no they do not teach legal ethics in law school here. And legal ethics are not part of any of the three kinds of bar exams (i.e. the attorney exam, the public defender exam and the prosecutor/judge exam) in Taiwan.

At the Judges and Prosecutors Training Institute they get about one hour ( out of a six month program) of legal ethics. The one hour consist of what might be termed “Boy Scout generalities”; e.g. be good, do not gamble or frequent disreputable places (like KTVs or bing liang stands) or play grab ass with girlies who are not your wife, do not steal, be faithful, true and good and do what your mommy and your boss tells you and that completes the legal ethics training.

I am not kidding about that. The Taiwanese approach to legal ethics, i.e. that is simply consist of “be good, follow the rules, obey your superiors”, reflects a kind of child-like (or more harshly, childish) simple mindedness about ethics and in a broader sense about human psychology.

I really have noted an absolute absence within Taiwan’s legal community of interest in serious discussions of either ethics or the human psychology that stands behind/beneath human ethics. For their 5,000,000 (I may have added too many zeros to that figure) years of history the local folks seem extremely un-sophisticated in their ability to conduct serious ethical and psychological discussions.

It comes out for example in discussions of how substance abuse (be it booze or drugs) can and often does effect legal ethics among attorneys. The kiddies (meaning the local legal professionals) will adopt one of two reactions; either “oh that is not a problem in Taiwan” (which is absurd, I have first hand knowledge of one Taiwanese attorney whose practice is driven by the bottle and I do not think he is the only one on the island.). Or they will give some simple minded homily like: “the attorney should think of their family and not drink so much”.

When I tell them that it is not that simple and the human mind is a wee bit more complex than that they look at me like mooned calves and I, taking the hint from the glazed looks, drop the subject.

So it will be awhile before legal ethics is taken seriously. But I think the book will sell okay because it is the only one available in Chinese and (not to be immodest) it is fairly lively reading. After all sex, theft, lies, bribes and all the rest are the stock in trade of Next Magazine and the rest of Taiwan

An oldie but a goodie. :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

Now wait a minute. I doubt the guy could have hurt Johnie Cochran, given that he is already dead.

Incidentally, for any non-lawyers observing this thread, legal ethics is part of the curriculum in most US law schools, is included in Bar Exams, and is part of lawyers’ mandatory continuing education requirements. At least for California lawyers that’s the case. And it can be a whole lot more complex than just “do good.” Can a lawyer enter into a business relationship with a client? Or a sexual relationship (yea, I know, lawyers screw their clients all the time)? Can a lawyer be a beneficiary in his client’s will? Even if the lawyer drafted and witnessed the will? Can a lawyer sue a former client? What obligations does an attorney have regarding funds received on the client’s behalf? Not as exciting as the sexy stuff in Brian’s book, but many US attorneys are disciplined and disbarred regularly for violating the above rules. Not only do they not teach the above subjects here, as Brian noted, but I suspect attorney disciplinary actions in Taiwan are almost unheard of.

A classic “blind spot” in the local folks thinking about legal ethics is conflict of interest. Let me give you a very common real world example.

You are a criminal defendant facing fairly serious charges.
You walk into the court room.
The judge is a girl
The prosecutor is a boy
They seem on friendly, almost intimate terms.
That is because they are husband and wife!
Do you feel your trial will be fair?

Happens all the time here. If you are a judge/prosecutor you probably (I would guess about 30-40% of the time) found and fell in love with your spouse at…the Judges and Prosecutors College and since you two do not want to be apart, you two requested to be assigned the same courthouse and to make it even better…the same courtroom.

When I point out the “problems” with this I get the “Taiwanese mooned calf look” and the response is, “oh it is good because they work better together because they know each other”.

take care,