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My project today is to examine the scope of that most central of lawyerly duties, the duty of zealous representation, and its relation to narrative. Specifically, I want to explore the tension that arises between the progressive lawyer's political commitment to antisubordination on the one hand, and the particular demands of an individual client's case on the other. The question presented is: Do the ethical rules permit, or even require, lawyers to strategically deploy racist, sexist or homophobic narratives that will advance their clients' interests? I begin the consideration of this thorny question by examining a specific teaching tool used in our law school and a series of complexities generated by it, and then propose a modest amendment to the ethical rules that would permit lawyers to better balance their commitments to progressive values and to their clients.
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