HIGHLIGHTS FROM PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Secrets are anything derogatory and/or embarrassing about the client.
- The lawyer must keep the client’s secrets – the duty of confidentiality continues after the
attorney/client relationship ends.
- Under Pa. RPC 1.6, an attorney may disclose confidential information where:
To prevent reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm;
To prevent the client from committing a criminal act that is likely to result in
substantial harm to another person’s financial interests or property;
To prevent, mitigate, or rectify past criminal acts committed by the client in
which the lawyer’s services were used;
To establish a claim or defense in a dispute with the client;
To effectuate the sale of the lawyer’s practice; and
To get ethical advice from another attorney.
- The lawyer must disclose confidential information where:
It is necessary for Candor toward the tribunal.
If the Judge asks you to reveal it, you must reveal it.
If you know that a client is about to lie on the stand: call a recess, tell him
not to lie. If he insists on lying, withdraw as counsel. If he gets on the
stand and then lies, you have to disclose it to the judge.
1) Two clients’ interests are directly adverse to one another; or
2) There is a significant risk that representation of one or more clients will be materially
limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a former client, a third
person, or by a personal interest.
- If the parties’ interests are materially adverse, the lawyer cannot represent both parties.
- If there’s a possibility of concurrent conflict but the attorney feels that he can
competently represent both parties without materially limited either’s position, he can
represent both parties if:
He discloses the conflict, in writing.
He gets written, informed consent from all of the parties.
The representation is not prohibited by law.
ENTERING INTO BUSINESS DEALS WITH A CLIENT
- It must be fair & reasonable
- Disclosed to the client, in writing
- Recommendation of independent counsel
- Client’s informed, written consent.
ACCEPTING COMPENSATION FROM SOMEONE OTHER THAN THE CLIENT
- A lawyer may not accept compensation from a third party unless:
The lawyer provides full disclosure to the client
The client provides written, informed consent
There’s no interference with the lawyer’s independent judgment
And the lawyer protects client confidentiality.
If one attorney in a firm has a conflict, all attorneys in the firm share that conflict.
When an attorney joins a firm, the firm cannot represent anyone that the attorney or his previous
firm represented a client with a materially adverse interest, unless:
1) The new lawyer is timely screened from the matter,
2) The new lawyer does not share in the fee,
3) And the old client is notified
Note: the old client must be notified but need not give informed consent.
YOU CAN ADVISE A WITNESS NOT TO TESTIFY IF:
- Person is related,
- Person is agent of the party
- Person’s interests would not be harmed.
The attorney must withdraw when:
1) Continued representation would result in violation of the Pa. RPC.
2) Lawyer’s abilities hindered by mental or physical impairment.
3) The lawyer has been fired.
The attorney may withdraw when:
1) The client persists in using lawyer’s services in a criminal or fraudulent manner.
2) Client used lawyer’s services to commit a crime.
3) The client’s conduct is repugnant to the lawyer.
4) The lawyer has a fundamental disagreement with the client’s conduct.
5) The client fails to cooperate.
6) There’s a financial burden on the lawyer (the client’s not paying his bills).
7) For other good cause.