Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cashing In Honor And Ethics For A Ticket On The Casey Anthony Fame Train

Just disgusting. Saw it twice tonight on two different cable talk shows.

Former lawyers for Casey Anthony pontificating about the trial.

For the lay people out there, let me explain.

If a client comes to a lawyer's office for 5 minutes to say hello and ask a question about their case, that conversation is governed by the attorney-client privilege. That conversation is so protected, that if another client in the same case comes to the same lawyer's office, that lawyer may have to conflict out of the case. Attorney-client relationships can be created in an instant, even without a formal retainer agreement and the payment of money.

These two lawyers mugging for the national TV cameras were more than just consulted on the Casey Anthony case, they worked for the defense team for a period of time. Now they don't.

Now their former client is on trial for her life, and there they are, guessing about what the defense is doing.


Is there a rule against this?

Client-Lawyer Relationship
Rule 1.9 Duties To Former Clients

(c) A lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter or whose present or former firm has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter:

(1) use information relating to the representation to the disadvantage of the former client except as these Rules would permit or require with respect to a client, or when the information has become generally known; or

(2) reveal information relating to the representation except as these Rules would permit or require with respect to a client.

Because lawyers seem to disregard the rules they swore to uphold, now clients have to ask their lawyer whether they intend to go on TV and talk about their case if they wind up off the case before it's over. A smart client will demand in the retainer agreement that if the lawyer is terminated or withdraws that they will refrain from seeking publicity on the client's back during the pendency of the case.

Because for some lawyers, fame trumps honor. For some, clients are a tool, that when in another lawyer's hands, is no longer their responsibility.

I'm sure they'll be back though, right after these messages.

Non-anonymous comments welcome. Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.Share/Save/Bookmark

1 comment:

Loretta Halter said...

I'm proud of you for reminding everyone that Lawyers are part of a highly respected occupation with governing factors, rules, guidelines, and sworn agreements. It is wonderful for you to bring this to light in an informative way that lets people know that Honor is foremost and those who are astray are a minority and need refocus.