'Ruly' Lawyers Take to Streets
In Washington, D.C., yesterday and New York City and elsewhere Tuesday, lawyers took to the streets, clad in proper courtroom attire, to protest the imposition of martial law in Pakistan and the arrest of thousands of lawyers there. Terry Carter reports in the ABA Journal that the Washington march, organized by the ABA, brought out hundreds of lawyers. Eric Turkewitz of New York Personal Injury Law Blog attended one of two New York rallies Tuesday and says that hundreds of lawyers turned up there. Elsewhere, three-dozen lawyers rallied in Albany, several hundred showed up for a second day of protest in Seattle, 200 showed up for a moment of silence in Raleigh, N.C., and 75 marched in Honolulu.
Not everyone was thrilled with the turnout, however. Blogger David Giacalone writes that he is not impressed yet by U.S. lawyers' efforts. After observing that New York has 147,000 active resident lawyers, many thousands of whom have their offices within a block or two of the Manhattan Supreme Court, he comments:
Well, it appears that fewer than 800 hundred lawyers took part yesterday in the two Pakistan solidarity rallies. Sadly, I do not believe it was because no one knew (did Musharaff jam everyone’s Blackberries and cellphones?) or because the protests were 'splintered.' Everyone just had higher priorities at lunchtime on a lovely autumn day in Manhattan. Seems to me, curiosity alone should have ensured more than a triple-digit body count.
The New York Times put the number of New York protesters at 500 and described them as muffled and docile: "Just a very ruly crowd of lawyers, most of whom were not from Pakistan." Attending the Washington march, ABA Journal reporter Carter describes it also as "ruly" but significant nonetheless, swelling at one point to more than 600 people.
(I am embarrassed to say that I can't tell you how many showed up for the Tuesday rally in Boston because work kept me from attending.)
I am one who criticized these rallies for being splintered, but, unlike Giacalone, I am impressed nevertheless. Would I have liked to see more lawyers show up? Of course. But as the ABA Journal's Carter writes, it is almost unheard of for large groups of lawyers to march in protest of anything. To see hundreds of lawyers turn out in cities across the U.S. is a credit to all lawyers, even those who did not attend. The president of the New York State Bar Association, Kathryn Grant Madigan, put it well when she told the Wall Street Journal,"This is unusual for lawyers, but it’s the essence of what we’re about."
Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on November 15, 2007 at 12:55 PM | Permalink
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