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.
A lawyer who becomes sexually involved with a client in a Divorce proceeding can take advantage of the client under-going emotional trauma. Thus, for example, an attorney who by representing one client adversely affects another client has a conflict of interest and is guilty of misconduct.
That lawyer may hinder any attempts at reconciliation between a couple and complicate matters for any children involved. Conflict of interest rules also forbid an attorney to enter into a business transaction with a client unless the client is fully aware of how the transaction will affect his or her Legal Representation and agrees to the transaction in writing. American Bar Association; Attorney-Client Privilege; Civil Procedure; Ethics, Legal; Legal Advertising; Legal Representation; Malpractice; Model Rules of Professional Conduct; Public Defender; Trial.
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.The model rules set forth specific guidelines defining the attorney-client relationship.An attorney will be guilty of misconduct, for example, if she or he fails to provide competent representation to a client, to act with diligence and promptness regarding a client's legal concerns, or to keep a client informed of legal proceedings.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.California has developed its own rules of professional conduct.