SMU Law Review Forum
In the Godfather trilogy, lawyers do most of their work outside of the courtroom. The family’s lawyer, Tom Hagen, has the title of consigliere, serving as the boss’s right-hand man. He is legal counsel and also assists with business management and planning. This includes operation of the family’s criminal enterprise. In The Godfather, a lawyer is a fixer, an enforcer, and a collaborator. This conceptualization of the attorney role is not only unethical, it is illegal. Yet, it is the role currently assumed by our Attorney General, William “Bill” Barr, and White House Counsel, Pasquale “Pat” Cipollone. Although both men took an oath to represent the people and to uphold the Constitution, and are bound by the rules of professional conduct in the jurisdictions where they are licensed, they instead work on behalf of Donald J. Trump. The People’s attorneys are beholden to the President.
Carliss N. Chatman, The Trump Administration Should Have Attorney Whistleblowers, 73 SMU L. Rev. F. 196 (2020).