The core vice that Posner finds in Clinton’s efforts to contain the truth of the Lewinsky affair is very similar to a fault the public perceives in the behavior of lawyers generally. Namely, lawyers often try to obscure or distract from factual truth order to prevent the law from applying as intended. Most of this avoidance behavior is technically lawful because, for pragmatic reasons, allowances for such avoidance have been deliberately built into the criminal laws against perjury, obstruction of justice and the like. These allowances are a compromise that the law makes with morals so its criminal prohibitions will not unduly chill the advocacy zeal on which the adversary system depends. Because of these allowances, however, it may be problematic to make a legal case against Clinton for his efforts to conceal the Lewinsky affair. Nonetheless, Clinton’s manner of defense discloses unmistakably the serious discrepancy that exists between the standards of honesty that lawyers apply to themselves and those that the public expects of honest people in general and of a legitimate system of law in particular.
John A. Humbach, Just Being a Lawyer: Reflections on the Legal Ethics of a President Under Impeachment, 4 Legal Ethics 155 (2001) (book review), http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/449/.