criminal lawyer Éric Morain hangs up his lawyer’s robe

His feats of arms are numerous. The tenor of the Paris bar explains why he throws in the towel in a letter full of sadness and melancholy, but also bitterness towards the judicial system.

“It’s already exhausting to be called for help – ad vocatus – day and night, but it’s even more so to fight against an ever more seized up, rusty, jammed chain.” This chain that the criminal lawyer Éric Morain evokes in a press release shared Friday, August 26 on Twitter, is that of justice. The same from which he has just separated, ad vitam aeternam.

Ranked among the 30 most powerful lawyers in France by GQ magazine in 2019, this tenor of the Paris Bar, sometimes criminal lawyer, sometimes defender of natural wine and winegrowers linked to its production, hangs up the robe 26 years after taking the oath . “This dress full of folds and pain worn”, he wrote. The now ex-lawyer says he is somewhat tired and above all tired of the current judicial system. “In a few years, I don’t want to be a lawyer aged 60, then 65, then 70, and then even more, in the midst of this world of justice that no longer listens to us. I don’t think I have the strength anymore.”he assures in a text that sounds like a pamphlet mixing sadness, bitterness and melancholy.

Éric Morain denounces, among other things, “the ever more discrediting non-reforms of justice“. He also regrets “hearings postponed for a year or more, [les] ever longer notice periods, particularly in family matters, [les] rogatory letters that we sometimes wait for years, [les] exponential hardware errors, [les] extensions of deliberations, [la] forced multiplication of file submissions and video […].“He adds that”the time devoted to, if only obtaining answers or information that are due to our litigant clients has increased tenfold in 5 years.»

“I did not choose this job for this coming collapse”, he shouts again. Aged 52, Éric Morain had stood out as a lawyer in several cases that received significant media coverage since the beginning of the 2000s. It was he, for example, who had defended the victims of terrorism in the trials attacks in Nice, Magnanville and Saint-Etienne du Rouvray as a defender of the National Federation of Victims of Attacks and Collective Accidents (FENVAC).

“After having taken an oath of humanity, it is to have promised to take the trouble and the blows in place of our customers, not to plug a gangrenous system and in nothing, nothing to repair anything”

It was he again who defended General Philippe Rondot in the Clearstream Affair in the early 2000s. He assisted the soldier during his 140 hours of hearings. In 2018, learning of the situation of the oldest prisoner in France, Michel Cardon – sentenced in 1977 for murder -, he committed himself to his side and formulated an appeal for clemency with the President of the Republic, which resulted in the conditional release of the 67-year-old man and his release from prison in June 2018.

Éric Morain also defended several women victims of sexual violence, including two of the alleged victims of Tariq Ramadan. Or cyberbullying, such as the Secretary of State for the Social and Solidarity Economy Marlène Schiappa, the journalist for Release Nadia Daam or former adult film star Nikita Bellucci.

So many feats of arms that have contributed to the solid reputation he now enjoys and the deep respect that most of his peers have for him. “After having taken an oath of humanity, it means having promised to take the trouble and the blows in place of our customers, not to plug a gangrenous system and nothing, nothing to fix anything”, he points. Comparing his profession as a lawyer to “an old love”, Éric Morain does not deny it and even goes so far as to plead in its favour. He invites his “young and less young colleagues” to love “this profession intensely” and to continue to “”believing in mornings”, with faith and even with madness.”

On Twitter, many lawyers, magistrates and journalists reacted to this announcement. “When such a lawyer lays down the robe, it is a defeat of justice. Sadness. Huge sadness. But respect. Huge respect…”was particularly moved by the Parisian lawyer Alain Jakubowicz.


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