The Pursuit of Justice and Jewish Law
Halakhic Perspectives on the Legal Profession (Second Edition)

ISBN 978-1-933143-01-0, 227 pages, softcover, $21.95
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By Michael J. Broyde

A Jewish lawyer is bound to — sometimes torn between — two disparate systems of law and ethics. What do you do when your religion conflicts with your obligations as a lawyer? For that matter, how do you know what your religious obligations are? Michael J. Broyde, Professor of Law at Emory University, founding rabbi of the Young Israel in Atlanta and a member dayan of the Beth Din of America, takes a fearless inside look at the ethical and halakhic issues facing the Jewish lawyer and anyone caught up in the American legal system.

This book systematically examines the ethical and halakhic issues raised by the many different facets of law practice, as well as other issues encountered by the Jewish lawyer or others significantly involved in the American legal system.

Major topics examined from the perspective of Jewish law include: litigating in secular courts; the problems posed by professional confidentiality; the issues involved in aiding a client in a violation of either Jewish or American law; the ethics of cross examination and the obligations of a lawyer to pursue truth; the problems raised by working as a prosecutor or a defense attorney; practicing bankruptcy law; and the permissibility or obligation of informing on others for violating American law. The book also includes a full discussion of issues posed by family law (including an appendix addressing the 1992 New York Get Law); as well as a complete unit addressing the problems of business law, from usurious transactions to the ethics of negotiation and arbitration. Many other topics are included as well. This book was originally published by Yeshiva University Press in 1996 and has undergone significant revisions and additions for the current edition.

Praise for the Book
“Michael Broyde is one of those rare personalities—Judaic scholars and legal authority, pulpit rabbi and university professor, responsible traditionalist and courageous independent. Fortunately, his superb volume, The Pursuit of Justice and Jewish Law, now appears in its second edition. Readers who missed the first edition will now happily have access to this important study of halakhic issues as they relate to the practice of American law.”

—Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, Chancellor of Yeshiva University
“The most prolific scholar of comparative law and halakhah working in the United States today... Considered by many to have done the best work.”

—Yeshiva University Review
“It's a ‘must-read’ for anyone interested in Jewish law or Jewish lawyers—or for anyone intrigued by the interrelationship of religion and the practice of  law.”

—Prof. Steven H. Resnicoff, DePaul University College of Law
“Broyde provides an extremely valuable guide to navigating the tensions between the practice of law and halakha (Jewish law)... A handbook for Orthodox Jews, and a valuable resource for non-Orthodox Jews.”

—Journal of Law and Religion

Inside the Book

Table of Contents
  1. Introduction

    General Issues in Legal Practice
  2. Providing Counsel and the Role of the Lawyer
    • The Judge as Advocate.
    • Lawyers Giving Legal Advice
    • The Limits of Advocacy
    • Conclusion
  3. Professional Confidentiality
    • Jewish Law and the Obligation to Help Others
    • Professional Confidences and Legal Ethics
    • Jewish Law’s Perspective on Secular Legal Ethics
  4. Admonition and Collective Responsibility
    • Admonition as an Obligation
    • Situations where Admonition is Not Required
    • How to Admonish

    In the Courtroom: Litigation
  5. Litigating in Secular Court
    • The Scope of the Prohibition
    • Conclusion
  6. Courts and Lawyers
    • Applying the Prohibitions to Litigate in Secular Courts
    • The Analysis of Rabbi Klein, and a Response to It
  7. Aiding in a Violation of Jewish Law
    • An Overview of the Prohibition to Assist in a Violation of Jewish Law
    • Modern Decisors and Issues Involved in Aiding a Person to Violate Jewish Law
    • The Lawyer and Aiding in a Violation of Jewish Law
  8. Secular Law and Secular Court
    • Bankruptcy Laws: A Paradigmatic Example
    • Public Law
  9. Swearing and Oath-Taking
    • Oaths
    • Head Coverings
  10. Examination of Witnesses
    • Repeating Harmful Information and Truth-Telling
    • Truth-Telling in Court

    Practicing Criminal Law
  11. Prosecuting Criminals
    • Introduction
    • Classical Jewish Law and Informing: An Overview
    • Informing on People When Government is Committed to Procedural Justice: Five Opinions of Contemporary Decisors
  12. Defending One Accused of a Crime
    • Introduction
    • Assisting the Guilty
    • Assisting the Guilty: A Second Approach

    Family Law Issues
  13. Wills and Inheritance
    • Wills that Bequeath
    • Living Wills
    • Conclusion
  14. Family Law and Child Custody
    • General Problems in Family Law
    • Child Custody
    • Support Payments

    Business Law and the Law Business
  15. Usury
    • Interest Charging: An Introduction
    • Limitations.
    • Rabbinically Prohibited Interest
    • Usury and the Lawyer
  16. Negotiations
    • The Problem of Puffery
    • A Limitation and an Expansion
  17. Arbitration and Compromise
    • Mandatory Arbitration?
  18. Billing by the Hour
    • The Role of Custom in Billing Questions
    • Billing Travel Time
  19. Conclusion

  20. The 1992 New York Get Law: A Markedly Less Than Ideal Solution That Creates Many Halakhic Problems
    • Introduction
    • The Problem with the 1992 Get Law
    • Halakhic Considerations
    • The Reality of Divorce
    • Conclusion


Chaper 12: Defending One Accused of a Crime

About the Author

Rabbi Michael J. Broyde (Google him) is Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law and the Academic Director of the Law and Religion Program at Emory University. His primary areas of interest are Law and Religion, Jewish law and ethics, and comparative religious law. Besides Jewish law and family law, Professor Broyde has taught Federal Courts, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Secured Credit, Bankruptcy and other courses. He received a juris doctor from New York University and published a note on the Law Review. He clerked for Judge Leonard I. Garth of the United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit. In addition, Professor Broyde is ordained (yoreh yoreh ve-yadin yadin) as a rabbi by Yeshiva University and is a member (dayan) of the Beth Din of America, the largest Jewish law court in America. He was the Director of that court during the 1997-1998 academic year while on leave from Emory. He is also the founder and Rosh Kollel of the Atlanta Torah Mitzion Kollel in Atlanta.

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