“In Felony’s Mirror,” a memoir with essays on legal ethics and restorative justice, reveals immutable aspects of felony, and reminds us we are all better than our worst acts.
Against the backdrop of author Michael Sweig’s mishandling of his small law firm’s dispute with its biggest client over a $1 million-plus legal fee, and Sweig’s resulting disbarment and felony conviction, Sweig suggests fundamental fixes for the regulation of lawyers and punishment for lawbreakers which are fundamentally based on restorative justice principles and practices.
Sweig argues we can’t advance the common good if we punish non-violent lawbreakers without addressing how the lawbreaker can help heal the victim, the community, and ultimately remain employed and able to support a family and pay taxes.
Sweig’s essay on “Voodoo Ethics” raises numerous questions for the legal and business communities on the morals of following or bending rules and the tactics of making or saving money, and about the adversary system, generally.
For the bar, issues discussed concern small law partnerships and attorney-client relations, and problems with lawyers as trust account signatories.
The essay “Restorative Justice for White -Collar Crime” suggests infusion of civic engagement and restorative justice elements in white-collar criminal sentences so educated white-collars become educators and advocates for “other-collars.”
Lawyers, judges, legislators, regulators, corrections professionals, policy-makers, employers, and teachers or students of criminal justice, business, and law should read “In Felony’s Mirror: Reflections on Pain and Promise.”