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Judges must avoid close relationships with solicitors

It is vital that we maintain the public’s faith 
in the independence of the justice system, 
says Marilyn Stowe

17 May 2012

Will Gardner is a senior partner at the Chicago law firm Lockhart Gardner. Every week he plays basketball with three judges. His well-known friendships with those members of the judiciary have come under scrutiny from his opponents, all the more so since his firm won a number of spectacular outcomes from those same three judges. Nothing improper has taken place, and the three judges don’t seem to think there is anything wrong with playing basketball with a trial lawyer. But Gardner’s opponents, one of whom is the State Attorney, are convinced otherwise. How else did Lockhart Gardner’s brilliant results come about?

As some of you have no doubt recognised, this is a storyline from the latest season of the American legal drama, The Good Wife. The glossy, high-budget series makes for compulsive viewing, but its high-octane plotlines do not always match the day-to-day working reality for solicitors here in England and Wa...

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