Cuomo should take the lead on ethics – New York News


My first day at Albany Law School was in September 1980. I invested four years of savings and GI Bill benefits earned through Vietnam-era military service.

My most vivid memory of orientation was being corralled in a classroom by an upperclassman who gave each one of us a “fact pattern.” A man goes to the seashore, ignores a sign that warned of dangerous riptides and drowns. Question: Who can be sued?

I concluded it was his own damn fault. How could anyone else be blamed?

After turning in our papers, the upperclassman summoned me into the hallway and said: “Is this some kind of a joke? This is law school you’re here to learn that you can always sue someone.” I sat down and filled a page with every cockamamie theory of liability I could think of. He was satisfied.

I told my roommate I had fallen into the company of a lot of unaltruistic greed heads. He pointed out that I needn’t go into personal injury, tax law or any money-grubbing stuff. I went into learning to use the legislative process to get a lot of altruistic things accomplished. Needless to say, I’m not at all a prosperous man.

After 37 years, I contemplate yet again the sorry spectacle of important elected officials caught red-handed in corrupt behavior and getting off with the help of slick high paid lawyers like former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver just did.

Who are these crooks? Mostly lawyers. Who gets them off? Lawyers. And who are the elected officials who could be doing something about this? Also, mostly lawyers. The original impression I got of the legal profession more than withstood the test of time.

Chief among…

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