Liberty, Ethics and the Law: Thomas More's Perspective
CLE Credit: Three Hours
Objectives of this program:
- Provide a context for studying the state legal code
- Increase the lawyer's historical and philosophic understanding of the foundations of the law and civil liberties
- Explore the relationship of liberty, conscience, integrity, and professionalism in the practice of law.
To be distributed: Readings for each session
About Sir Thomas More
Sir Thomas was one of the most highly regarded lawyers of his day, an historian, and a philosopher who gave the first known defense of free speech. In addition, he was the son of an eminent judge, and he eventually rose to be Lord Chancellor of England, the highest officer under King Henry VIII. He was also a poet who wrote a diplomatic reminder to his monarch that law and citizen support were of greater importance than hereditary power and privilege. More is the first English person known to present a consistent defense of those political elements eventually adopted by the United States: rule of law for all, division of power, separation of church and state, elected representation, and protected forms of free and public deliberation. Famous among Londoners for his care for the poor and his impartial justice to all, Sir Thomas was also well known for his dedication to peace and for the balanced life he lived in regard to family, church, and civic responsibilities.
|9:00||Thomas More on Law, Ethics, and Liberty – His Theory|
|10:15||Thomas More on Law, Ethics, and Liberty – His Practice|
|11:30|| Panel Discussion: Liberty, Ethics, and the Practice of Contemporary Law
4 Panelists: Respected judge(s) and lawyers from different fields of law.
This program will investigate the relationship between ethics, law, and liberty by
- Setting forth More's understanding of:
- Illustrating More's theories with examples from More's own life;
- Exploring the relationship of liberty, conscience, integrity, and professionalism in the practice of law.
This presentation will also explain the significance of Thomas More’s election as “Lawyer of the Millennium” by the Law Society of Great Britain in December 1999 and his recognition as “Patron of Statesmen” by thousands of leaders from around the world in November 2000. Finally, the program will conclude with reflections on the importance of this lawyer who conducted his life with “integrity,” a word used for the first time in English by this lawyer who chose to go to his death rather than to go against justice and to give up essential liberties.