By: Terry Ahtziry Cárdenas Banda, Attorney
The Lawyer: Mexico v. United States.
The reputation of lawyers in Mexico lives in a slaughter. The lawyer is that person that must protect the rights of citizens, the fairness of the laws and that the law is fulfilled, but above all must fight for justice. However, over the years, the legal profession has been despising and becoming distrustful. The lawyer used to be that legal scholar with great prestige and that all admired, today we have forgotten the great scholars of law, and we only hear bad experiences with lawyers.
The lawyer in Mexico is criticized for lack of knowledge, lack of professional ethics and corruption. There is a wave of bad experiences with lawyers; the system takes them to live in corruption, in agreeing to do bad things in order to do good. Nevertheless, there are still good and great lawyers in Mexico, however, the reputation we have of attorneys is not very good, and even though there are great lawyers, they have been unable to change that paradigm.
To be a lawyer in Mexico you must have a Law degree, and is generally achieved depending on the institution in four or five years after High School. Once obtained the title of lawyer to exercise the law, attorneys must register their professional license and without any other drawback, they can practice law throughout the country.
In the United States, there is another reality for lawyer’s reputation, lawyers are the most prestigious professionals in the US, it is true that they also have their critics and bad experiences exist, however, the qualities stand out and they still continue to have great prestige.
When we look at the other side of the border and see how our neighboring country values and respects the profession of law, we must ask: What are we not doing right?
The lawyer in the United States after having completed a 4 year bachelor’s degree they have to go to Law School for another 3 years in order to complete the educational requirements to obtain a ‘Juris Doctor’ degree and then take the State Bar Exam where they want to practice the profession, as well as having to take the Professional Responsibility Exam, if they approve these requirements, they are entitled to practice law in the corresponding state.
We see a remarkable difference between Mexico and the United States. In Mexico, you do not need to pass any test that equalizes to the Bar Exam of the United States, neither any exam of Professional Responsibility. In Mexico, there are no rules or codes of Professional Responsibility that regulate the conduct of attorneys. There are laws in Mexico which regulate the conduct of professionals but no specific codes or laws that regulate the conduct of attorneys and that punish them if they do not fulfill their functions.
The Rules of Professional Responsibility in the United States are a quality that we need to value of the legal profession in the United States and even ask the question whether in Mexico such rules are required. Would it make a difference in Mexico to have a Professional Responsibility Exam and a regulatory body of the lawyer’s conduct? Is it necessary to have an examination such as the Bar Exam?
However, what is the trigger that leads to criticize a profession in one country and respect the same profession in another country. Will that have to be that one country counts with an exam that qualifies their knowledge, or the fear of doing the wrong things and that they will be punished, or this goes beyond these differences and involves the cultural and political issues that each country is living?
Terry Ahtziry Cárdenas Banda, lawyer and professor of the School of Law of CETYS University, graduated from the LLMC program of the School of Law of the University of San Diego.