WASHINGTON – The leadership of the local Bar Association in Washington, D.C., insist on objecting to a new rule proposed for its 80,000 lawyers, but that doesn't mean it approves of lawyers who get too close to their clients.
The D.C. Court of Appeals is considering revisions to ethics rules based on a model from the American Bar Association. That model considers "transactions" — another word for sex — with clients to be a conflict of interest.
But the local Bar leadership said that goes a bit to far. Instead, it wants a strong warning that sleeping with clients could create a conflict of interest. Lawyer Anthony Epstein told the D.C. Examiner the local bar doesn't approve the practice, it just doesn't think a categorical ban is appropriate. But Epstein said their alternative still warns lawyers to be extremely careful about their behavior.
Other proposed rules would allow lawyers to become whistle-blowers if clients use attorneys as part of a crime or fraud and allow bigoted lawyers to be disciplined if their prejudices get in the way of justice.