Professional Responsibilities

                           PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

     A. What body of law to apply.
         1. The “Instructions Regarding Professional Responsibility” from the State Bar

          “Performance tests and/or essay questions may test knowledge of the California
          Rules of Professional Conduct [similar to the ABA Model Rules, but the important
          differences are marked with the asterisks], relevant sections of the California
          Business and Professions Code, and leading federal and state case law on the
          subject in addition to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct [the modern
          major rule tested on the MPRE] and ABA Model Code of Professional
          Responsibility [the shrinking minority rule since the rule appear in 1983].
          Professional responsibility issues may be included in conjunction with any subject
          tested on the examination.”

          –In the rare case when a jurisdiction is stated, apply that set of rules. Otherwise, use
          CA law and strengthen your answer by flagging conflicts with ABA model rules
          (majority position).

          2. The CA Bar does not cover the Code of Judicial Conduct.

     B. Common crossover essay topics: Torts, Contracts, Criminal Law, Performance

     C. Essay Tip: Don’t chase phantom PR questions. Look at the call of the question.
     Don’t just write about PR when the exam Q doesn’t even ask for it. Maybe just throw in
     a sentence or two to raise the issue of PR and move on.

     A. The building block:
         “The lawyer has a duty of (fill in a duty) to (fill in a person or thing).
         (1) The bulk of duties are those owed to your client(s). These are:



            Fiduciary Responsibilities          —> Client(s). Do each separately!
            …& other reasonable things

Professional Responsibilities

          (2) Duties to entities other than your client(s). Mix and match:

           Candor/Truthfulness                      Court/tribunal
           Fairness                                 Adversaries (parties & their counsel)
           Dignity/Decorum                     —> Profession
           …& other reasonable things               Third parties

     Mnemonic: Clients Love Fierce Counsel: Courts Feel Differently.
     Confidentiality, Loyalty, Fiduciary responsibilities, Competence, Candor, Fairness,

     B. Building an essay. Within the call of the question, outline by identifying every major
     duty that you have to each individual client. Then, for each of these, look for conflicting
     duties to other clients or entities. Organize your answer by discussing these conflicting
     duties in a cluster, then move to the next major duty to your client and its related cluster
     of duties. Finally, resurvey the problem for any miscellaneous duties, e.g., to the public
     or profession, that you haven’t discussed yet.

          1. Consider alternatives to your main conclusions rather than simply stopping after
          the most likely conclusion. E.g., “Although unlikely for the reasons just discussed,
          if the court finds that the representation of Client A overlaps with the subject of
          Client B’s representation, then the duty of loyalty would require....”

          2. Use headings and skip lines!

      A. General rule: You can’t reveal anything “related to the representation” of a client
      without her consent. The rationale is to maximize candor and trust, allowing the
      adversarial system to work. The duty of confidentiality applies regardless whether the
      client requested it be kept “confidential” or whether its revelation might harm or
      embarrass the client.

     B. Distinguish attorney-client privilege, the closely related, but narrower evidentiary
     rule. A-C privilege allows a client to refuse to testify and to prevent his lawyer from
     testifying in court about confidential communications between them or their agents.
     Unlike the earlier Model Code, the current Model Rule of confidentiality applies
     whether or not the information is privileged; it is broader!

          1. Scope of subject. The evidentiary privilege covers only communications
          pertaining to legal services, not other subjects like business tactics or political
          consequences. Confidentiality is broader, and also includes disclosures that could
          reasonably lead to discovery of confidential information by a third party.

          2. Source of information: In defending your client Martha against obstruction of
          justice charges, her ex-husband told you extensive details of her past investments.
          If the government subpoenas you to testify about this can you assert A-C privilege?
          No, A-C privilege shields only information obtained from the client or her agent.

               Is this information confidential under your ethical duties (i.e., duty of
               confidentiality, not A-C privilege)? Yes, the source doesn’t matter.

Professional Responsibilities

            3. Timing. The evidentiary privilege protects communications leading up to a
            formal A-C relationship and continues after death, although under the *CA
            Evidence Code it terminates when the client’s estate is settled. Your duty of
            confidentiality continues indefinitely after the formal representation has ended.

      C. Exceptions. There are major exceptions to the ethical duty of confidentiality.

            1. Consent. If the client consents after consultation, a lawyer may reveal otherwise
            confidential information.

                  Your client Vince has synthesized a new steroid, XFS, to build strength and
                  aggression in athletes. He has hired you to get a patent on the drug. May you
                  reveal his invention to the Patent Office? Yes. You have “implied consent” to
                  reveal what’s necessary to render your legal services.

            2. Crimes.

                  a. Fraud or financial crimes.

                        Vince tells you that he is liberally distributing bribes and XFS to ball
                        players in his new league, to make for more predictably lucrative betting
                        on the games. May you reveal his intentions to prevent this future crime?
                        The ABA says: Yes, if he used or is using your services to commit the
                        crime, and the disclosure would prevent or mitigate substantial financial

                        —*CA has no exception to confidentiality for financial crimes.

                  b. Death or substantial bodily harm.1

                        What if, instead, Vince told you he wasn’t just going to Outlaw, but fully
                        Xterminate, Jesse for his lousy commentary? May you reveal his
                        intention to anyone? Yes, you MAY reveal only what’s necessary to
                        prevent the act, if you reasonably believe disclosure is necessary to
                        prevent reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm.

                        —*In CA you must, if reasonable in the circumstances, first make a good
                        faith effort to persuade the client not to commit the act, and inform the
                        client of your decision to reveal his confidences.

      3. Defending yourself.

            Vince (i) sues you for malpractice, (ii) brings disciplinary actions against you, and
            (iii) refuses to pay you, forcing you to sue him for your fees. May you reveal
            confidential information in any of these proceedings? Yes, all of these
            circumstances, as well as seeking an ethics opinion, fall into the exception for
            revealing information necessary to establish a claim or defense.

      4. If compelled by law, other controlling ethical duties, or final court order.

  Remember these: (1) past crime, past harm  atty cannot reveal this confidential info; (2) future crime, future
harm  atty may reveal this confidential info in order to prevent V’s death or substantial bodily harm; (3) past
crime, future harm  atty may reveal this confidential info in order to prevent V’s death or substantial bodily
harm (ex. client tells atty he has kidnapped V and hidden him in a warehouse on 1234 Walnut Drive. The crime
has been committed but V isn’t dead yet, so atty may reveal this info in order to prevent V’s possible death or
substantial bodily harm).

Professional Responsibilities

     A. The black letter law       ***HIGHLY EXAMINABLE***
         1. You have a duty of loyalty to your client. If an interest of you, another client, or a
         third party materially limits or is directly adverse to loyal representation, you have
         a potential or an actual conflict of interest.

          2. Approach: You must not take on the representation unless:

               a. You reasonably believe you can represent everyone effectively, despite a
               potential conflict, or that an actual conflict will not adversely affect your

               b. You inform each affected client. If your duty of confidentiality prevents you
               from fully disclosing information to the client that s/he needs to understand the
               conflict, then consent may not be possible.

               c. The client consents in writing, ~AND~

               d. The consent is “reasonable,” i.e., if a reasonable lawyer would not advise
               the client to consent, the consent is invalid. Because of this condition, some
               conflicts can never be corrected, even with consent; on the other end of the
               spectrum, clients may easily waive some conflicts like imputed

          3. If conflicts emerge only after representation begins, disclose potential and actual
          conflicts as they arise, get further consent, and withdraw if consent is not

          4. “Imputed disqualification” means that you and all the members of your firm are
          treated as a unit for the purposes of conflicts. This includes any group of lawyers
          that work together closely or share responsibilities, e.g., private firms, government
          agency offices, and corporate law departments. *CA follows these rules for
          disqualification, but does not subject a lawyer to discipline for imputed conflicts
          under its ethical rules.

               —Exceptions to imputed conflicts are when a conflict arises from previous
               government service, which is governed by separate rules (see IV.C.7.), and
               when the conflict of the lawyer arises from a purely personal relationship that
               would not affect the ability of other firm members to represent the client. In
               these cases, an “ethical wall” may make representation reasonable by blocking
               off any contact on the matter between the lawyer with the conflict and other
               lawyers of his firm.
               —Issue spotter tip: Always look for conflicts of your colleagues as well as
               your own.

          5. Remedies: (depends on the posture of the case, but consider): Refuse to take the
          case; advise multiple clients to get separate counsels; and/or withdraw (depends on
          how the fact pattern is set up).

     B. Conflicts between lawyer and client.
         1. Interest in the subject of litigation. A lawyer should not become “interested” in
         the subject matter of the litigation.
               —Exceptions: (a) An attorney’s lien on property to secure payment of fees,
               and (b) work on a contingent fee basis.

               Hubbell agrees to represent McDougal in a suit to recover a fancy resort

Professional Responsibilities

                    property. May he enter into an agreement with McDougal for a time-share
                    arrangement on the property if it is recovered? No, that’s a proprietary interest
                    in the COA.

              2. Business transactions or adverse interests. You may enter into business with a
              client or obtain an interest adverse to hers only if: (a) the terms are fair to the client,
              (b) fully disclosed in understandable writing, (c) the client has opportunity to
              consult an outside lawyer, and (d) your client provides written consent.

                    In representing a start-up dot-com company, the Wilson firm agreed to accept
                    “payment” in the form of shares of stock equal to the value of the services
                    provided. Assuming that the services have been valued reasonably, and the
                    transaction is documented, may it do so? Yes, if it is fair and reasonable under
                    the circumstances known to the lawyer when the interest is acquired.

                    —Be particularly cautious if the investment is by individual firm members, or
                    if the acquisition represents one of the firm’s major assets, as that might
                    distort the firm’s advice to the company, e.g., regarding disclosure of adverse
                    information b/c if such information is disclosed, the client’s stocks will drop in
                    price. Since the law firm holds these stocks, they don’t want the price to drop
                    and therefore will not tell the client about the adverse information.

                    Bubba, an attorney, is a member of the Board of Directors of Pardon, Inc.
                    Marc, Pardon’s Treasurer, asks Bubba to defend him in an investigation of his
                    alleged embezzlement of company money. May Bubba represent him? No.
                    Bubba has a fiduciary duty to the corporation in his personal capacity as a
                    member of the Board. Pardon and Mark are in direct conflict, so Bubba cannot
                    be loyal to both.

                    Attorney Andrea was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of one of her
                    firm’s clients. May she do so? Maybe. There is no automatic bar to serving on
                    a Board of Directors of a corporate client, although it is strongly discouraged,
                    as it is likely to compromise duties of confidentiality and loyalty.

                    —You may serve as a director, officer or member of a legal services
                    organization that is not your employer as long as you do not knowingly
                    participate in a decision or action of the organization that is adverse to your
                    clients (or else breach of duty of loyalty).

              3. Publication rights contracts.

                    Halfway through his trial, Scott offers to sell his lawyer rights to his story to
                    raise some needed cash. Can the lawyer accept? Under ABA rule, not before
                    the representation has ended.

                    —*CA case law discourages contracts before the end of proceedings, but
                    tolerates them if the judge is satisfied that the client clearly understands and
                    consents. Think: CA is Hollywood so more liberal rule!!!

              4. Loans and advances to your client. Do not financially assist your client with
              litigation, except for: costs and litigation expenses when representing an indigent,
              and the advance of expenses if the client promises to pay them back. Repayment
              contingent on recovery is OK.
                    —*CA prohibits the promise of paying a client’s debts to gain his business,
                    but allows loans2 in all matters (including non-litigation matters) for any
    Here, the key is: “paying off client’s debts” v. “lending client $$ so he can use it to pay off his debts  need

Professional Responsibilities

                  purpose after the lawyer is hired if there is a written IOU. Rule of thumb: CA
                  very often allows its attys to do more than what’s allowed by the ABA.
                  But CA requires its attys to write it down. If you are not quite sure, just
                  say “the atty should have written it down.”

            5. Limiting liability. You cannot proscriptively limit your client’s right to report
            you for ethical or other professional violations. Similarly, you cannot limit your
            malpractice liability when you enter into a relationship with your client unless he
            is independently represented in making the agreement.

                  —If a client later does make a malpractice claim against you, you can only
                  settle after written advice to the client to consult an outside lawyer first.

            6. Use of information. Use or communication of information relating to the
            representation of a client to her disadvantage and without consent violates the
            duties of both loyalty and confidentiality.

            7. Gifts to the lawyer or lawyer’s family. You must not solicit a substantial gift
            from a client, or draft a legal instrument for a client who is not your close relative if
            it provides a substantial gift to you or your relative(s).

                  —*CA only prohibits inducing the gift, not drafting the instrument.

            8. Close relationships with the lawyer for the other side. You can’t oppose a
            party represented by a relative without informed client consent. “Close relations”
            clearly include: immediate family, i.e., your spouse, parent, child or sibling.

                  —*CA extends this rule to any intimate relationship, e.g., your own lawyer or
                  client, your shackmate or other intimates.

                  —Note: There is no imputed disqualification for this conflict, or that

            9. Trial counsel as a necessary witness. The general rule is you cannot serve as
            counsel and witness in the same trial. The ABA allows exceptions if the lawyer’s
            appearance as a witness will not prejudice the client, and the testimony is
            uncontested, or regarding the nature and value of services rendered, or if your
            distinctive value to the case would mean withdrawal would impose substantial
            hardship on the client.

                  —*CA also allows testimony if it is to anyone but a jury, or if the client
                  consents in writing.
      C. Conflicts between Clients. Generally, you may represent clients with potential
      conflicts with the proper consent of all, but it is almost never proper if their interests are
      in actual conflict.

            1. Issue spotter tip: For each client, separately ask yourself about all duties you
            may have. Watch for breach of the duty of confidentiality in multiple client

            2. Opposite sides of the same matter.

                  Your law firm represents Texaco in labor matters, although you have done no
                  work for it. Lundwall, a former Texaco employee, asks you to help him sue
                  Texaco for cutting off his benefits. Can you do so? No. Note, imputed

to pay back the atty”

Professional Responsibilities

              disqualification means you represent Texaco. Lundwall and Texaco are in
              direct conflict. Conclusion: It’s unreasonable to represent both.

              *CA Rule: It is never reasonable to assert a claim by one client against another
              client in the same case.

         3. Opposing present client’s interests.

              Assume your firm’s only contact with Texaco is representing it in a securities
              action arising from a recent corporate merger. May you now take the labor
              claim of Lundwall v. Texaco? Under ABA rules, maybe. Consent of parties
              opposed to each other, especially in related cases, is rarely reasonable. *CA
              rules absolutely prohibit you from taking a case that is adverse to a client you
              are currently representing, regardless of the relationship of the cases.

              —CA statutory exception to regarding a policyholder and his insurance
              company as joint clients:

                   Your law firm represents NorCal InsCo in a coverage action against
                   SoCal InsCo. May you also represent Daniel Driver, who is insured by So
                   Cal InsCo in an unrelated case? Yes, if SoCal is only an indemnity
                   provider for Daniel and not a direct party to the action.

         4. Two clients with inconsistent positions.

              You find yourself arguing both for and against the constitutionality of
              mandatory sentencing laws in two different appeals. OK with consent of both
              clients? Yes, but if either would be disadvantaged you must withdraw.

         5. Multiple clients in the same matter.

              Common examples of multiple representation of clients or matters in which
              you might act as an intermediary are: See Below.

                   —Insured and insurance company;
                   —A corporation and any of its directors, officers, employees, or
                   —Both spouses in a divorce or will.

              Kevorkian’s insurance company has hired you to defend him and it in a
              malpractice action. Note this presents a potential conflict, but it is acceptable
              with reasonable consent.
              Now, however, Kevorkian tells you that he was indeed using medically
              “unorthodox practices” on the plaintiff that are not covered by his malpractice
              insurance policy. Is there now an actual conflict between Kevorkian & his
              insurance company? Yes. They are in direct conflict over coverage.

              Best remedy? Withdraw from both and advise them to get separate counsel. If
              you are desperate for business, you can still keep Kevorkian but must ditch the
              Insurance company.

                   You must at least withdraw from representing InsCo because you have
                   relevant, confidential information from Kevorkian that you cannot use in
                   pursuing undivided loyal representation of InsCo.
                   —In criminal matters, dual representation may not only compromise your
                   loyalty, but also impede the 6th Amd. guarantee of “effective assistance
                   of counsel.”

Professional Responsibilities

         6. New clients in matters related to former clients’ matters. If confidential
         information from another client might be relevant to work on a new client’s matter,
         you may be violating your continuing duty of confidentiality as well as your duty
         of loyalty to your former client. You cannot take on a new client with interests
         materially adverse to a former client without the former client’s consent.

              Nicole asks you to represent her in her divorce from Tom, but your senior
              partner once represented Tom in business dealings. OK? Maybe, first note that
              imputed DQ applies. It depends on the nature of work done.

              What if your partner had only represented a real estate venture in which Tom
              was a limited partner? Likely OK because Tom only a limited partner (you
              know little about him).

              —Ask: Do the representations overlap in function, scope or information?
                 In defending Britney in the past against copyright infringement charges
                 by Mariah, you were privy to all of her private recording notes. Can you
                 use that knowledge today to represent Christina in a similar action against
                 Britney? No, of course not. Use of nonpublic confidential information
                 against a former client is unreasonable.

              If you left your firm, can your ex-firm now represent Christina in her action
              against Britney? Maybe. Imputed DQ applies to your former firm if: (i) the
              matters are substantially related or the same, and (ii) any remaining lawyer has
              confidential material information.

         7. Former government lawyer now in private practice.

              a. The ABA Rule states if the government lawyer worked “personally and
              substantially” on a “matter”, i.e., a specific dispute between specific people
              over specific issues, then it would be a conflict to work on the same “matter”
              later in private practice.

                   You’ve left the Defense Department where you worked on regulations
                   prohibiting conflicts of interest. At your new firm, can you become
                   involved in litigation disputing the meaning of those regulations? Yes,
                   regulations are not a “matter.”

                   What if you worked in the Department of Justice bringing enforcement
                   actions under the Conflict of Interest Act? You’ve now joined the Gibson
                   firm, which is defending Halliburton in a conflicts inquiry. May you
                   represent Halliburton? No, not without written consent of your
                   Government employer.

              b. Imputed disqualification

                   May other members of your firm? Yes, if the three conditions for an
                   exception to imputed disqualification of colleagues of former government
                   lawyers are met:

                        1) You are screened off;
                        2) You do not share any part of the fee in the matter (salary or
                        partnership shares established by prior independent agreement are
                        OK); ~AND~
                        3) Your government employer is informed.

              c. Judicial officers besides attorneys.

Professional Responsibilities

                         What if you were a judicial clerk on the Ninth Circuit and worked on the
                         U.S. v. Halliburton case? The same rules apply to clerks, judges,
                         arbitrators, basically people working the legal capacity here.

                   d. *CA does not have a counterpart to this rule for government service! It does
                   bar prosecutors from later participating on the defense side of the same case.

       D. Conflicts due to Third Party interference.
           1. General rule: Your sole duty is to your client, not to any 3rd party.

             2. Compensation for your services from a third party is permitted only with
             informed client consent.

             3. Organizational clients. A lawyer must act in the best interest of the entity, even if
             an officer, employee, or other associated person acts to the contrary.

                   a. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 20023 has generated special rules for securities

                         You are in-house counsel at Enron. You discover that the Chief Operating
                         Officer has materially violated securities laws in his dealings with an old
                         political friend. You must report the matter to the CEO or chief legal
                         counsel of the company. If they do not respond, you must go to or highest
                         authority in the board or the highest authority of the company. Finally,
                         if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent fraud or substantial
                         injury to the organization or investors, or if your services were used, you
                         may disclose confidential information without client consent to the SEC.

                   b. *CA specifies permissive, not mandatory, reporting to a higher internal
                   authority and would prohibit outside publication. However a CA lawyer
                   cannot be held civilly liable or subject to discipline for acting under this
                   federal law.

    A. Attorney fees. Fee agreements are typically contractual between you and your client,
    and should be reached early and clearly.

             1. In non-contingent fee cases, agreements should include: how the fee is
             calculated; what services are covered, and the lawyer and client’s duties.

                   —*CA requires more than the ABA: agreements must be in writing, unless (i)
                   the fee is under $1000, (ii) it is with a corporate client, (iii) it is for routine
                   services for a regular client, or (iv) it is an emergency or impractical.

             2. In contingent fee cases:
                  a. Written fee agreements must be signed by the client and contain:
                       1) Your percentage;
                       2) What expenses are to be deducted from the recovery; ~AND~
                       3) Whether your percent is taken before or after expenses.

                   *CA also requires that agreements state 4) how work that is not covered by the
                   contingency fee will be paid, and 5) that lawyers’ fees are negotiable, not
                   some “standard” percent of recovery.

                   b. Types of actions allowing contingent fees.
    Reporting up the ladder!!

Professional Responsibilities

                   According to the ABA, contingent fees may not be used in criminal or
                   domestic relations cases. *CA, however, is silent on criminal matters and
                   OK’s contingent fee divorces, “provided the fee arrangement won’t
                   encourage the breakup of an otherwise savable marriage.”

              c. Termination before judgment is awarded.

                   Bud fires Vinny from his personal injury case after he decides he’s not
                   nearly as good as the guys in the movies. Vinny’s put in a good year of
                   work, although the case has not gone to trial or settled. If Vinny had a
                   contingent fee agreement with Bud, can he recover any fees? Yes, if and
                   when Bud wins, then Vinny can recover in quantum meruit (i.e., in
                   proportion of the work done).

         3. When are fees too high?

              ABA Rule: Fees must be reasonable, taking into account the labor, novelty,
              difficulty, skill and timing required, result obtained, the experience of and
              other demands on the attorney, fee arrangement, etc.

              *CA Rule: Fees must not be unconscionably high. So if there’s a gap b/w
              “reasonable” and “unconscionably high,” then you can collect the fees!!

              Bud hires Vinny to represent him in a subsequent malpractice action against
              his treating doctors. Vinny drafts a new contract that provides that Vinny will
              receive 1/3 of the recovery as a contingent fee, and that if Bud fires Vinny or
              refuses a settlement offer that Vinny believes is “fair and reasonable,” then
              Bud will immediately pay Vinny $500 per hour for all work done to date. OK?

                   —Contingent fee: This is OK.
                   —Refusal of settlement offer as grounds to withdraw? This is OK.
                   —$500/hr. payment? This is iffy. If it’s a good faith evaluation of Vinny’s
                   work, then it’s OK. If it’s functionally a penalty or forfeiture, then it is
                   not enforceable.
                   —The ABA encourages arbitration, if available, to resolve fee disputes.

                   *CA requires a lawyer to agree to submit to arbitration if the client wants.

         4. Fee splitting. Focus on the party/entity with whom you are sharing fees:

              a. It is generally OK to split fees with other lawyers in your law firm.
              b. You may split fees with lawyer(s) outside your firm only if the total fee
              meets ethical standards and there is written disclosure and consent. In addition,
              the ABA requires that the division be proportion to the work done by each
              attorney, unless each is jointly responsible for the action, but *CA does not
              require proportionality.

              —Referral fees are not allowed under the ABA Rules, but *CA allows them so
              long as the total fee is not unconscionable and not increased due to the split.

              Jacob gets a great personal injury case, but is annoyed that the case is based in
              LA, which he regards as a grid locked armpit. He refers the case to Meyer,
              who does all the work and wins a million bucks. Can Meyer send Jacob a
              Hummer as thanks for the referral? No, Jacob did no work so it’s not
              proportional. *CA is ok with consent.

Professional Responsibilities

               c. Fee splitting with non-lawyers is generally not allowed (protects the
               lawyer’s judgment and prevents the unauthorized practice of law.)

               —Exceptions to fee splitting with non-lawyers are for death benefits for a
               lawyer’s services paid for a reasonable time to the deceased lawyer’s firm or
               heirs, and fees shared with non-lawyer employees via pension and
               compensation plans.

               —A lawyer may also share court-awarded legal fees with a non-profit
               organization that employed, retained, or recommended the lawyer in the

          5. Partnership with non-lawyers in providing legal services. This is prohibited
          for any practicing lawyer. Non-lawyers cannot be partners, shareholders, officers,
          or control or direct a lawyer’s professional judgment.

               —You can enter a reciprocal referral arrangement with another lawyer or
               non-lawyer professional, provided it is not exclusive and you explain the
               arrangement to the client at the time of the referral.

               —If, along with provision of legal services, a lawyer provides “law related
               services” to a client herself, she is subject to the ethical rules. If the services
               are provided by a separate entity controlled by the lawyer, she must take
               reasonable measures to assure the client knows the protections of a
               client-lawyer relationship do not apply.

     B. Client trust accounts.

          1. You have a duty to safeguard your client’s property by labeling and storing
          it in a safe place such as an office safe or bank safe deposit box.

          2. Money held for the client must be placed in a client trust account. These
          include moneys received on his behalf, advances for costs, expenses and fees. No
          borrowing or commingling of funds with your personal money allowed!

               a. Normally, use an individual, interest bearing trust account to hold client
               funds; the interest belongs to the client.

               b. Smaller funds held for a short period of time for several clients at once can
               be deposited into a “pooled client trust account.” This must be a checking
               account, and in CA, as in most states, the interest (IOLTA; interests on lawyer
               trust account) will first go to pay the bank’s service charges, and the remainder
               to the CA state bar to fund legal services.
               c. If you have a disputed claim for fees or if a third party has a lawful claim
               over your client’s funds or property in your custody, you must withhold the
               disputed portion in the client trust account until resolution of the claim.

          3. You have a duty to keep good records for your client, to render accountings,
          notify him of moneys received on his behalf, and pay promptly money due to
          him. *CA requires you to keep records of client property for 5 years after final
          distribution and to make records available to the State Bar for audits.

     A. Duty of competence.
         1. You have a duty to render competent service to your client. If you don’t, you
         are subject to: (i) discipline by the Bar, (ii) disqualification as counsel in a litigated

Professional Responsibilities

         matter, and (iii) civil malpractice liability.

         Competence means using the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation
         reasonably necessary for the representation.

         —If you don’t know the relevant law, you can’t take on a matter unless: you can
         put in the time to learn it without undue expense or delay to your client, or you
         associate with a lawyer competent in the area.

         2. Malpractice distinguished. There are several major differences:

         —An injured plaintiff, not by the State Bar, brings a malpractice action,
         —To get compensation, not for punishment or protection of the public, and
         —In a civil court, not to a disciplinary tribunal.

              a. A malpractice plaintiff must prove a legal claim, such as breach of contract
              or tort. In simple negligence cases, the malpractice plaintiff must show a
              breach of a duty of due care, which for the general practitioner is the skill, care
              and judgment that a reasonably prudent general practitioner in the region
              would have used in the circumstances.

              b. While an ethical violation may be relevant evidence of malpractice, it does
              not create a presumption of it.

    B. Accepting representation. The general rule is that you are free to accept or to reject
    any case. “A lawyer is not a bus.”

         1. You should accept, as part of your duty to the public and profession: (a) the case
         of the defenseless or oppressed “if your only reason to refuse is selfish,” and (b) a
         fair share of work without charge. ABA rules urge 50 hours of pro bono work a
         year for truly indigent clients.

         2. Conversely, you must reject a case if you would violate a law or disciplinary rule
         to take it. Typical problems are if you are not in the physical or mental shape to
         take the case (violating the duty of competence to the client; this includes just being
         over booked!), or if the case would require making a frivolous legal argument
         (violating the duty of candor to the court).

    C. Scope of representation. The client makes decisions about her substantive rights
    (e.g., whether to testify in a criminal case, accepting plea bargains or settlement offers).
    The lawyer makes decisions on procedure and legal strategy (e.g., choice of motions,
    what discovery to seek). If you disagree, you can limit the scope of representation, with
    client’s consent.
         Martha has asked you, her lawyer, if she must answer truthfully if the prosecutor
         asks her on the stand if she had ever discussed particular stocks with certain
         individuals. You should tell her about her Fifth Amendment right against
         self-incrimination, but that she must testify truthfully if she takes the stand
         (fulfilling duties of competence, candor, and fairness.) But the final decision to
         testify is hers.

         —The scope of representation does not include counseling or assisting a client in
         conduct you know is criminal or advising the client how to act illegally and get
         away with it!

    D. Duty to communicate. You have a duty to keep your client informed about the case,
    including settlement offer and returning phone calls (duty to communicate to your

Professional Responsibilities

         —If a settlement offer is made to joint clients, you must convey the offer to all and
         make sure they agree on the division of the settlement before accepting.

    E. Duty of diligence. You have a duty to diligently, promptly and zealously pursue your
    case to completion.

    F. Duties on withdrawal from representation. There are three ways to leave a case
    before the matter is resolved.

         1. The client fires you.

         2. Mandatory withdrawal. You must withdraw from a pending case if continuing
         would violate a law or ethical rule.

         Typical problems are if your physical or mental shape renders you incompetent, or
         if continuing would require assisting in a crime.

         Attorney Vinny tells Bud that his research shows that Bud’s got no viable
         malpractice claim against his doctors. Bud insists that Vinny continue, saying, “I
         don’t care if I don’t win, I just wanna make those scum pay their lawyers as much
         as I paid dem.” Must Vinny withdraw? Yes. Knowing pursuing a frivolous claim
         violates the duty of candor and fairness. Rule 11 kicks in too if you are in the
         federal system.

         —If the client is using your services to commit a crime or fraud, you must

         3. Permissive withdrawal. You may withdraw from a case if you convince the court
         there is good cause, or if it’s F.A.I.R. under ABA Rules because your client:

              a. Financially burdens you (*In CA, financial burden is not grounds for
              permissive withdrawal, although breach of a contract to pay expenses or fees

              b. Acts illegally, or has used your services to commit a past crime or fraud.
              (*In CA, use of your services to commit a past crime, is not grounds for
              permissive withdrawal.)

              c. Insists on pursuing an objective you find “repugnant” or “imprudent,” or

              d. Refuses to fulfill an obligation to you after you warned him you’d withdraw
              if he didn’t comply.
              —The court may deny you withdrawal or the client a substitute attorney if it
              would cause undue delay or disruption.

         4. Procedures for withdrawal. In order to quit, you must:

              a. Provide timely notice to the client, and

              b. You also must promptly return:

                   1) Any unspent fee and expense advances, and

                   2) All material papers and property of the client. Include everything
                   needed to pursue the case, even work product, and even if the client has
                   not paid! *CA forbids withholding your client’s materials for your

Professional Responsibilities


     G. Other Duties. Be reasonable and sensible. E.g., CA Rule 3-120: Sexual relations with
     clients (heavily regulated in California).

     A. General Essay writing tip. Separately identify duties that can run to multiple parties,
     e.g., advertising may breach your duty of candor to the public, but also your duty to
     preserve the dignity of the profession. Give each a separate heading to maximize your

     B. The basic idea. A state can regulate attorney advertising and solicitation subject to
     the lawyer’s Constitutional right to free speech. This is protected under the limited
     commercial doctrine of the First Amendment.

          A state Bar rule prohibits lawyers from using direct mail to solicit personal injury
          or wrongful death clients within 30 days of an accident. Stewart, the sole owner of
          “Went For It” lawyer referral service, sued the Bar for the alleged right to go for it
          early and often. Is the restriction Constitutional? Yes, if:

               1. The government asserts a substantial interest (e.g., dignity of the legal
               profession, invasion of citizen privacy); and

               2. The regulation directly advances that interest; and

               3. It is narrowly tailored.

     C. Advertising. This refers to a lawyer’s communication with the public at large, or a
     segment of the public.

          1. Advertising must not be false or misleading.

               a. Don’t mislead or omit material information.

                    Ally advertises that she prepares “simple wills” for $300. However, 95%
                    of the wills she writes involve “complications” that require additional
                    fees. Is her ad misleading? Yes.

                    Don’t raise unjustified expectations or make unverifiable comparisons.
                    *CA presumes improper any ad that contains guarantees, warranties, or
                    predictions of a result.
                    No testimonials or endorsements may be used unless there is an express
                    disclaimer that they are not a GWP.

          2. Claims of legal specialties. You can explain your fields of practice, such as
          “practice limited to federal courts.” You may not advertise claims of specialization
          unless you are a “certified specialist” that has earned a certificate in a specific legal
          subject issued by:

               a. The CA Board of Legal Specialization, or
               b. A private organization that is either approved by the ABA or identified
               clearly as an organization not approved by the state.

          3. Advertising must not harass or solicit someone who has indicated that she wants

Professional Responsibilities

          to be left alone. Targeted direct mail is OK, but must meet exact guidelines for
          labeling as “Advertising Material.”

          4. Every ad must be labeled as advertising and, if applicable, “a dramatization” or
          “impersonation.” It must identify at least one lawyer responsible for its contents.
          You must keep records of the content and placement of any ad for 2 years.

          5. *CA presumptions. CA Rule 1-400 lists additional specific actions presumed to
          be advertising violations, i.e., they shift the burden to the lawyer to disprove a

     D. Solicitation refers to individualized live contact with a layperson, initiated by the
     lawyer or her agent, that is designed to entice him to hire you.

          1. The rule, with built-in exceptions: Do not seek professional employment for
          pecuniary gain by initiating a live, telephone or real-time electronic contact with a
          prospective client with whom you have no prior professional, personal or family

          *CA presumes that communications made at the scene of an accident or en route to
          a medical facility are improper, as are communications to potential clients that you
          should know are not in the physical or mental state to exercise reasonable

          2. Runners and cappers (agents) can’t do anything that a lawyer can’t do.

               Your Criminal Law professor fails to get tenure. He hires you, his former
               student research assistant, to hand out his business cards to unrepresented
               criminal defendants in the courthouse hallways, offering to represent them for
               fees. OK? No, this is a solicitation by an agent.

          3. Payments (anything of value) for referrals are not allowed, except for:

                    —Fee splitting with other lawyers under CA rules (sect. V.A.4. above), or
                    —Small, ordinary fees paid to authorized lawyer referral services.

(one duty almost always involves the other duty here)
     A. Basic idea. A lawyer is prohibited from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty,
     fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. Even within our adversarial system these duties
     generally create an ethical obligation that can override conflicting duties of loyalty to
     your client and preservation of his confidences.
     B. Duty to present facts and evidence truthfully. You must refuse to make a false
     statement of material fact or offer evidence you know is false to a tribunal or fail to
     correct a false statement of material fact or law that you previously made or presented to
     the tribunal.

          1. Client perjury. You must not knowingly facilitate client perjury.

               —If the matter is a civil case, you must refuse to call the client as a witness
               if you know he intends to perjure himself.
               —However, criminal defendants have a 5th Amendment right to testify on
               their own behalf and a 6th Amendment right to the effective assistance of
               counsel. Counsel also has an ethical obligation to protect her client’s
               confidences. How do you balance these rights?

               Ted tells you that he intends to testify falsely that he has never owned a

Professional Responsibilities

              typewriter to type manifestos against technology. What should you do? Take
              reasonable remedial measures.

                   a. Counsel Ted to testify truthfully or not to take the stand, then if that
                   fails, try to withdraw from the case.

                   b. (*seeking withdrawal is permissive in CA), then

                   c. ABA Model Rule (strong majority): tell the judge. The Constitutional
                   right to counsel and the duty of confidentiality do not protect perjury.

                   —*CA view (case law): Allow the defendant to testify in narrative
                   fashion but do not further the deception. (E.g., don’t facilitate with
                   questions, argue points later to the jury)

              What if, only after the proceeding ends, Ted tells you that he lied? Take
              reasonable remedial measures along the lines above, but your duty ends with
              the proceeding (after the time for appeal has run).

         2. You must not counsel or assist a witness to testify falsely or to become
         “unavailable” to testify. Unless local law prohibits it, you may pay basic expenses
         of a witness and reasonable fees for expert witnesses, so long as the payment is not
         contingent on the content of the testimony.

         Ted’s brother intends to testify for him about his whereabouts during one of the
         eyewitness sightings of the alleged bomber. The morning of his testimony you
         discover that he intends to lie and state that Ted was with him across the country
         that day. If he refuses your counsel to testify truthfully, what do you do? Refuse to
         put him on the stand.

         —If you have a reasonable belief, but some doubt, as to the falsity of the testimony,
         the rule is permissive.

    C. Duty to produce evidence.

         1. Basic idea. You must not suppress any evidence that you or your client has a
         legal obligation to reveal or produce, regardless of your duty of loyalty. You may
         not obstruct access to, or tamper with fruits or instrumentalities of a crime.

              Your client fears he will be indicted for tax fraud. He brings a ledger to your
              office claiming that the information in it “could put him away forever” and
              asks you to get rid of it in case authorities search his office. You cannot
              unlawfully destroy, conceal or alter evidence, or obstruct another party’s
              access to evidence, or counsel anyone to do so.

              Erik brings you a shotgun saying he used it to kill his father. He is charged
              with murder, and you are served a subpoena for the production of physical
              evidence received from your client. Must you turn over the gun? Yes, it’s not
              insulated by your confidential client communication.

              May you disclose what Erik told you about the gun? No. Tip: Draw a bright
              line b/w physical E and confidential information!!!
              Neo comes to Attorney Morphius’ office with a kilo of cocaine and $100,000
              cash as a retainer. He tells Morphius that he’s been selling it and needs legal
              help. What must Morphius do with the drugs? Deliver them to the authority
              (police or DA) because he is reasonably certain they are contraband.

Professional Responsibilities

               May Morphius disclose what Neo told him about selling the cocaine? No, this
               is confidential.

               —Draw a line between physical evidence and confidential information!

          2. Interference with evidence.

               What if Erik told you that he threw the emptied gun into the bushes behind his
               house? Your investigator finds it but leaves it untouched. Must you tell the
               police about it? No, you can look but don’t touch.

               If your investigator retrieves the gun and examines it, must she then give it to
               the police? Yes. May she also be compelled to testify where she found it? Yes,
               because an attorney or his agent may be compelled to testify as to the original
               location or condition of evidence that he moved or altered.

               May you reveal the source of the information about its location? No, because
               that’s confidential.

               —A lawyer may retain evidence for a reasonable time to prepare his client’s
               case, e.g., to conduct tests so long as they will not alter or destroy the

          3. Ex parte proceedings are unusual communications with the judge outside of the
          presence of your adversary. Your ethical duties of candor to the court and fairness
          to your adversary require you to reveal relevant information, overriding the normal
          presumption that you not volunteer facts harmful to your client’s case.

     D. Duty to state the law truthfully. Knowingly making a false statement of law to the
     court is subject to discipline. You have an obligation to be candid about the law, and a
     duty to cite adverse authority, if it’s from a controlling jurisdiction and directly on point.
     Presenting frivolous claims or defenses is unethical and subject to discipline.

     E. Duty to uphold the law.

          1. Preventing your client from causing death or seriously bodily injury. Some
          jurisdictions mandate disclosure of facts to prevent death; under the ABA rules and
          CA law (as of July 2004), such disclosure is permissive.

          2. Your assistance in a crime. You have no duty to reveal a client’s fraud or crimes
          causing substantial financial loss.

          3. If continued representation would require you to commit or assist in committing
          a crime, you must withdraw! If your client persists in a course of action that you
          reasonably believe is criminal or fraudulent, but you are not assisting in a crime,
          you may withdraw.

     A. The general rule. The lawyer has a duty to behave honestly at all times in all
     dealings, whether or not engaged in the practice of law.

     B. Dealing fairly with others.
          1. Communication with adversaries and third parties. You must not make false stmt
          of fact to people or mislead them as to your interests. You must not violate the legal
          rights of a person in order to obtain evidence, or use means with no purpose but to
          delay, burden or embarrass them.

Professional Responsibilities

         2. Communication with a party represented by counsel on the subject of your
         inquiry. Unless a law specifically authorizes the communication, you must not
         communicate with a party you know is represented by counsel on the matter
         without consent of his counsel.

              Your client claims that Beatrice Corp. negligently disposed of its industrial
              byproducts, polluting public water supplies and giving her child a deadly
              leukemia. Must you have Beatrice’s corporation counsel’s consent before you
              interview its site manager? Yes. Consent is required for interviews of anyone
              who supervises or regularly consults with the organization’s lawyer, who has
              authority to obligate the organization, or whose conduct may be imputed to the

              Must you have consent before interviewing a line worker who no longer works
              for the company? No, although care should be taken to protect the
              organization’s rights, e.g., protecting attorney-client privilege.

              An unrepresented, non-employee who will testify for Beatrice? No.

    C. Dealing with the press.

         The defendant’s right to a fair trial is balanced against the press and public’s right
         to know. You and your agents must avoid out of court statements that you
         reasonably should know have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing the

         —Exceptions are for matters in the public record or routine booking information,
         warning the public, informing them of an ongoing investigation or asking for help,
         and (c) statements required to protect your client from substantial undue prejudice
         from recent publicity not self-initiated.

         —In addition, prosecutors must not make comments that have a substantial
         likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused.

    D. Special duties of prosecutors.

         The basic duty of a prosecutor is to seek justice, not just to win cases. Prosecutors
         have higher ethical obligations than criminal defense or civil attorneys. Among
         other duties, they must:

              1. Have probable cause;
              2. Protect the accused’s right to counsel, including not subpoenaing a lawyer
              to present evidence about a client unless it is essential and unprivileged; and
              3. Timely disclose evidence favorable to the defense.

    A. Duty to preserve the impartiality and decorum of the tribunal.
        1. Don’t try to influence anybody improperly. Before and during trial you must not
        talk to any prospective or empanelled juror.

              Before and during trial you must not talk to any prospective or empaneled
              juror. After the trial is over, if local law permits, you may interview jurors so
              long as you do not harass tem or influence their future jury service.

         2. No “chicanery”: Trickery especially by lawyers and politicians! E.g., referring to
         inadmissible material, alluding to matters unsupported by the evidence, asserting

Professional Responsibilities

         personal knowledge of facts at issue.

         3. Duty to preserve the decorum of the tribunal. Refrain from abusive or
         obstreperous conduct, belligerence, or theatrics. The rules state: “A lawyer may
         stand firm against abuse by a judge but should avoid reciprocation....”

    B. Duty to expedite cases.

         1. You have an affirmative duty to expedite cases. *CA states that lawyers must not
         delay to harass an adversary, or for their own personal gain or convenience.

         2. You have a duty to follow valid procedural rules or court orders, unless you are
         making a good faith challenge to their validity. You must not abuse or obstruct

    C. Additional duties to the profession and public.

         1. A “lawyer” must not engage in the unauthorized – or unlicensed – practice of law
         to safeguard the public from incompetence. Practice in a state while suspended or
         in which you are not admitted is a violation unless allowed under limited

              a. ABA rules governing multi-jurisdictional practices allow temporary practice
              by a lawyer in good standing in another state if it arises out of matters
              reasonably related to the lawyers home-state practice and if affiliated with a
              local lawyer and/or granted a “pro hac vice” appearance by a local court.

              b. *In 2004 CA adopted more narrow rules of court governing out-of-state
              lawyers in the categories of:

                   1) Registered legal services attorneys (practicing under supervision of a
                   CA attorney for no more than three years)

                   2) Registered in-house counsel for an institution (but no individual
                   representation or court appearances)

                   3)Litigating and non-litigating attorneys practicing temporarily in the

              These rules generally require the lawyer register with the CA Bar, pay dues,
              satisfy continuing legal education requirements, and be subject to CA ethics
              rules. Additional details apply to each category, e.g., a legal services attorney
              cannot have taken and failed the CA Bar within the previous five years).
         2. Conduct generally. A lawyer should not engage in conduct involving dishonesty,
         fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, including in their private business or personal

         3. Reporting misconduct. The general ABA rules require a lawyer to report any
         other lawyer or judge’s violation of the Rules if it raises a substantial question as to
         that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer.

              *CA does not require this, but instead requires self reporting of the lawyer’s
              being charged with a felony, found civilly liable for fraud or breach of
              fiduciary duty, disciplined in another jurisdiction, and other difficulties.

Professional Responsibilities

     A. Subordinates. If you are under the control or supervision of another attorney, e.g., a
     senior partner, who ratifies or orders you to take an action violating the ethical rules, is
     that OK? It depends!

          1. Your ethical responsibility if it is a clear violation, you are subject to discipline.

          2. Your ethical responsibility if it is a debatable problem, the partner is solely

          3. Your supervising partner’s ethical responsibility: If he ratified the action or knew
          of the conduct and failed to take action, it is a violation.

     B. Managing partners must make reasonable effort to ensure that everyone’s
     conduct in a firm, including non-lawyer assistants, comports with the professional
     obligation of a lawyer.

     C. Inaction. In CA, you can be disciplined for merely knowing about a fellow firm
     member’s disciplinary violation and doing nothing to prevent it.


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