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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Attorney-Client "Relationships"

Laura Appleman (Willamette) has written an amusing op-ed in the Legal Times, "Please Don't Squeeze the Client," which deals with the Anna Nicole Smith / Howard K. Stern drama.  Here’s an excerpt:

So here’s our first problem: Assuming, as we are, that our fictional lawyer is sleeping with his fictional client, that said fictional lawyer has allegedly impregnated said client, and that there are some competing paternity claims, what is the best course for the lawyer to pursue?

Is it (a) withdraw from the representation of the client and advise her to seek objective counsel; (b) withdraw from the representation and engage counsel of his own to litigate the paternity claim; (c) withdraw from the representation, engage his own counsel, and appoint a guardian pro tem for the child; or (d) all of the above, while also retaining complete confidentiality of the client’s information, including any client information that affects his personal interests?

Apparently, Stern instead chose (e) continued representation of the client, failure to retain counsel for himself or the child, and disregard for the confidentiality of the client’s information. Stern, an overachiever, decided to accomplish this last goal in most dramatic fashion by outing himself as the putative father on “Larry King Live.” And although there is no specific Rule 1.6 prohibition on “Larry King Live” appearances (not even in the Comments—trust me, I looked), I think we can safely assume that flaunting your client’s secrets on national television is verboten

The full text can be found here. 

Posted by Miriam Cherry on October 19, 2006 at 02:49 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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