Commentators often assert that the overriding ideal behind Professor Monroe Freedman’s distinctive view of legal ethics was individual autonomy. Professor Freedman’s provocative Professional Responsibility of the Criminal Defense Lawyer: The Three Hardest Questions, and his even more provocative answers, have drawn criticism as being too focused on individual autonomy.
Certainly, Monroe had a profound respect for individual dignity and autonomy, and he readily asserted that respect for individual autonomy was central to his view of legal ethics. In what follows, however, I will suggest that his emphasis on dignity and autonomy were derived from an even deeper commitment to justice. More particularly, Monroe Freedman had a passion for and commitment to justice in the tradition of the Hebrew Bible.