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The Death Penalty Must Be Wrong If Its Too Big for Biglaw

by Carolyn Elefant on February 22, 2006 · 4 comments

in Big Law/Small Law, Criminal Law, Practice & Policy, MyShingle Solo

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I’m not sure where my own personal opinion on the death penalty lies.  I’ve always believed that it’s incredibly disparately and arbitrarily applied – I’m just not certain whether the remedy is wholesale elimination of the death penalty or reducing its random application by improving the quality of legal representation provided to indigent defendants.

But now, apparently, Ken Starr has another reason for eliminating the death penalty – because it puts too much strain on biglaw.  Here’s the exact quote in the Hamilton Spectator (2/22/06):

“Society is not equipped to handle death penalty cases because of resources. Large law firms are not willing at this stage to take these cases on, at a cost of many thousands of dollars, in order to make sure that if the public wants the death penalty, it is not administered with arbitrariness and caprice.”

There’s a solution, of course, but most large firms don’t want to hear it.  If large firms targeted their pro bono efforts at representing indigent defendants or providing resources to court appointed lawyers where it matters, i.e., at the trial phase, they wouldn’t have to face the burden of taking on costly death penalty cases down the road.

  • Jay Gatsby

    I think the problem is system-wide, not just limited to BIGLAW firms. Of course, it’s very easy to take a shot at BIGLAW, as its to take one at big, bad Corporate America.

  • Jay Gatsby

    I think the problem is system-wide, not just limited to BIGLAW firms. Of course, it’s very easy to take a shot at BIGLAW, as its to take one at big, bad Corporate America.

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