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Besides issuing these general statements, the model rules set down many specific requirements for attorney conduct in different situations.Because of an attorney's special relationship to the law, he or she is held to a special standard of conduct before the law, as the ABA asserts in its Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct: As members of the bar and officers of the court, lawyers are beneficiaries of the privilege of the practice of law and also are subject to higher duties and responsibilities than are non-lawyers.Charging exorbitant fees or overbilling is also considered misconduct, as is counseling a client to commit a crime.
Trust is thus a defining element of the legal profession, and without it, the practice of law could not exist.
For that reason, the legal profession has created strict rules of conduct regarding the attorney's relationship with the client.
Some attorneys object to such rules, arguing that they interfere with their First Amendment rights to . If an attorney is related to another attorney as parent, child, sibling, or spouse, that attorney may not represent a client in opposition to the related attorney except when given consent to do so by the client.
They bristle at the notion of state bar associations regulating the private affairs of consenting adults. "Sex Behind the Bar: Should Attorney-Client Sexual Relations be Prohibited? This type of conflict of interest has become increasingly common as more women enter the legal profession and the number of marriages between attorneys grows.
The model rules have been used by 40 states to create official guidelines for professional conduct; 11 states or jurisdictions, including Washington, D.
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C., and the Virgin Islands, have continued to base their ethical codes on the earlier model code.
Behavior by an attorney that conflicts with established rules of professional conduct and is punishable by disciplinary measures.
More than any other profession, the legal profession is self-governing.
The ABA's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility addressed this issue in 1992 by issuing a formal opinion (no. Although the opinion acknowledged that the Model Rules of Professional Conduct do not specifically address the issue of attorney-client sex, it argued that an attorney's sexual relationship with a current client "may involve unfair exploitation of the lawyer's fiduciary position and presents a significant danger that the lawyer's ability to represent the client adequately may be impaired, and that as a consequence the lawyer may violate both the Model Rules and the Model Code." Becoming sexually intimate with a client, the opinion adds, undermines the "objective detachment" necessary for Legal Representation because "[t]he roles of lover and lawyer are potentially conflicting ones." In addition, the opinion argued, attorney-client sex introduces a clear conflict of interest into a case, and it may also compromise Attorney-Client Privilege, the principle that ensures the confidentiality of lawyer-client communication.
Any secrets revealed to an attorney by a client outside of their legal relationship may not be protected by attorney-client privilege. Many types of attorney misconduct involve a conflict of interest on the part of the attorney.