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Maryland Considers Adopting an Attorney Speech Code

By Scott R. Haiber
April 08, 2004
As I considered drafting an article regarding a proposed revision to the Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct, I had to suppress a strong urge to call the local courthouse cafeteria and request that they strike the term “French Fries” from their menu and replace it with “Freedom Fries.” I should explain that I have no particular obsession with cafeteria food. Nor do I share the currently popular anti-Gallic sentiment that has swept the nation; if anything, I am something of a Francophile. No, the only reason I considered making a statement reflecting a prejudice against the French is that I soon may lose the right to make such a statement at all. For if a committee appointed by the Maryland Court of Appeals has its way, Maryland lawyers soon may find it impossible to express their true views regarding the French — or the rich, the poor, homosexuals, heterosexuals, the opposite sex, the same sex, the old, the young or any other of innumerable classes. Instead, Maryland soon may enact a comprehensive speech code regulating the opinions that Maryland lawyers may express when acting in a “professional capacity.” ...