The legal profession has many faults. It charges too much. It is far too slow. But at least it is honest. Or so we thought.
Now it emerges that record numbers of solicitors are being investigated for suspected fraud.
So serious is the problem that the legal profession has launched a special operation to crack down on its crooks.
If you can't trust your lawyer, who can you trust? If the law isn't honest, what is?
The very phrase "law and order" reflects the fundamental importance of a squeaky-clean legal profession.
In every walk of life there are bound to be bad apples and, despite yesterday's revelations, most lawyers are honest.
But, like Caesar's wife, the solicitor must be above suspicion.
The solicitor's "product" is not one that the customer can easily judge, like a soap powder that doesn't wash clean.
The law is complicated. It is hard for the layman to tell whether the technicalities of conveyancing, for instance, have been carried out properly.
There is no simple "washes whiter" test for solicitors.
And nobody can know if they are being ripped off when the bill arrives.
The cost of going to law is a scandal in itself.
It is high time the legal profession sorted itself out. At least the law society has taken a step in the right direction.
The investigations now under way must be thorough and the results tough. We must have our faith restored.
We have no choice but to put our trust in lawyers and no way of judging whether they deserve it.
If the legal profession isn't straight, that shakes the very foundations on which a society builds its sense of right and wrong.