“How can you represent them?”
This question represents one of the larger sources of misunderstanding between the ethics of the legal profession and those who view attorneys in the worst, most stereotypical fashion. I can’t speak for how other attorneys might answer this question, but for me the answer is: I represent them, because someone once did it for me.
“But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners.” ~ Romans 5:8
I like to think that the way an attorney intercedes between the judgment of the court and his client, and argues on behalf of his client before the judge, is similar to the way a sinless Christ intercedes before a holy God for those who believe and follow Him.
I am so thankful that Christ’s death atones for my sin (and yours). Yet, as familiar as most are with this theological principle, it often escapes us that He gave up his life, and took up the sins of the world, when the whole world had abandoned him. He died while we were still sinners. Unconditionally.
So, yes, it is easy to represent the righteous, the innocent and the falsely accused. It’s also relatively easy to represent the remorseful and penitent, and to do so in ethical fashion. But I’m also called to represent those that have not yet repented.
Hopefully, they repent and find Jesus in this life, or they’ll find themselves unrepresented in the next one.