The Holmes Prosecutor, Carol Chambers

I don’t want to make too much of it, but then again it’s revealing:  when this now high profile prosecutor did “civil” cases in the “private sector” she did insurance defense:

Chambers worked in medical malpractice defense but wanted to be a prosecutor in criminal cases. She joined the 18th Judicial District, which covers four Colorado counties.

 

In my naive youth as a baby lawyer I used to figure that prosecutors were more analogous to plaintiff’s lawyers, because of the similarity of litigating when you have the burden of proof and the burden of going forward.  So that lawyers who prosecuted in criminal cases would gravitate towards plaintiff’s work in civil cases and vice versa.

This is a logical inference.  But it has nothing to do with reality.

The reality has more to do with fealty to establishment litigants.  In criminal cases that’s the government; in civil cases it’s the insurance companies, the banks, and the government.  In the former, the establishment litigant brings the case; in the latter, the establishment litigant defends the case.

So when a lawyer represents the defense in civil litigation and the prosecution in criminal litigation it has nothing to do with the litigating skills the lawyer has acquired or cultivated – other than the “skill” of choosing to represent the favored party.  It makes life easier, of course.

But in a larger sense it’s professionally troubling.

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