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Lawyers and Client Fraud: They Still Don't Get It, 6 Georgetown J. of Legal Ethics 701 (1993)


In 1991, the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association
(ABA) was asked to approve a proposed amendment to Rule 1.6 of the
Model Rules of Professional Conduct that would have given a lawyer
wider latitude to disclose client fraud than is permitted under Rule 1.6 as it
stands. The House rejected that proposal. In 1992, the Standing Committee
on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued Opinion 92-366 that
attempts to accomplish the same objective. Opinion 92-366 provoked a
dissent protesting that the Opinion's analysis was untenable. These events,
together with some other developments to be noted further in this discussion,
suggest the following point: When it comes to client fraud, lawyers-
at least those involved in promulgating the rules of professional conduct-
still don't understand what the problem is. More generally, the bar,
at least the ABA, still does not seem to understand the responsibilities entailed in its endeavors to prescribe the law governing lawyers.

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