Duquesne Law Review


History is replete with instances where a community's duly enacted laws have offended the moral convictions of at least some of its citizens. This comment examines the conscientious undertaking of civil disobedience as a means of persuading those in power that such laws are repugnant to commonly shared or enlightened moral standards. An attorney sympathetic to a client who engages in such an undertaking must be wary of possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed against him: the Code of Professional Responsibility specifically prohibits attorneys from counseling a client with respect to conduct the lawyer knows to be illegal, and a civilly disobedient act necessarily involves behavior contrary to law. The author, having examined the nature of true civil disobedience, concludes that the Code should be amended to permit lawyers to counsel civilly disobedient clients without the fear or threat of discipline.

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