In this episode of Remotely Ethical we discuss whether lawyers may ethically engage in civil disobedience or counsel clients on how to do so.
For more on this topic, check out Tyler’s blog post: Confronting the Ethics of Civil Disobedience.
In this episode we address:
- Recent events that have led to mass protests and acts of civil disobedience throughout the country and the world.
- Whether lawyers are ethically permitted to engage in civil disobedience, including:
- The implications of Rule 8.4(b), which prohibits lawyers from engaging in “illegal conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer”
- The line between civil disobedience and violent protest.
- Whether lawyers are ethically permitted to advise clients on how to engage in civil disobedience, including:
- The implications of Rule 1.2(d), which prohibits lawyers from assisting clients with conduct that is illegal or fraudulent
- The distinction between advising clients on civil disobedience vs. other illegal or fraudulent behavior.
- The importance of complying with Rule 1.1’s duty of competence when advising clients on civil disobedience, including:
- Not dabbling outside your area of professional expertise when advising clients
- Consulting with an expert or partnering with an organization that has experience in civil disobedience to ensure that you are advising your clients appropriately
- We talk more about the risks of straying outside your practice area in Episode 5 of Remotely Ethical: Hoarding and Dabbling.
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There is a line . . . Civil disobedience and peaceful protest is one side of the line. Acts of violence, acts of vandalism, it’s on the other side of the line. . . . While the ethics rules . . . . recognize that there is a way to way to challenge unjust laws and injustice generally, it doesn’t extend so far as to put others in danger.