De Marco to young lawyers: ‘Temptation to make money and wealth is great’

Former Nationalist deputy leader Mario de Marco imparts a lesson on virtue…

Nationalist MP Mario de Marco
Nationalist MP Mario de Marco

Nationalist Party MP Mario de Marco has told University of Malta graduands from the Faculty of Laws that the government ought to be pioneering legislation that blocks “the unfettered spread of innuendo and false news in our daily lives.”

In his oration to Malta’s new lawyers, De Marco warned lawyers entering a world in which their practice might not even involving meeting clients or plead a single case in court, to conduct themselves ethically.

“Currently we have law firms which employ hundreds of individuals and turnover several millions of euros annually in legal fees. They include lawyers who are not involved in any kind of human activity which necessitates the deployment of mercy in the exercise of their profession…

“Regardless of the contemporary scenario lawyers are required to conduct themselves in an ethical way. They are not allowed to behave as they wish. But their clients are not bound by such rules… This places lawyers at a disadvantage because they are required at times to protect their actions, conduct and integrity not just from third parties but from other members of the same profession with one arm tied behind their back.”

De Marco could have well been referring to high-profile cases in which lawyers – such as himself, a politician – have been also called to account for their roles in defending or representing controversial figures.

“I say this to you as the new generation of advocates and the holders of public office. The temptation to make money and material wealth is great. The opportunities are real and existent. The geographical restrictions to the practice of law have evaporated. But it is your conduct and behavior which will mark you out.”

In the past De Marco attracted attention to himself after his law firm actively represented the DB group in negotiations for the land in Pembroke, a deal severely criticized by the Nationalist Party of which he was deputy leader.

De Marco said that while many in the profession of law believed the values of fairness, probity, loyalty, dedication and humanity were timeless virtues, the development of the profession into a business could mean otherwise, warning lawyers to stay above the fray.

“Your clients’ matter, life, reputation, career can and will be salvaged or not on your choice of words. There is a tendency among lawyers to interrupt even to the point not to allow the other party to complete a single sentence.

“Such practice which is widespread sends all the wrong signals – arrogance, impatience, disrespect, lack of tact and above all prejudice to your clients’ interests. It’s bad strategy to parlay and assume the role of prima donna. The less you speak the more information you gain. The more information you have the more effective you can be for your client.”

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