It is against the law for lawyers to deceive. Even if you order your lawyer to cease working because of financial concerns, until you sign a substitute of attorney, or the judge relieves them from the case, a lawyer is expected to do what is necessary in your case to avoid your prejudice. The public is well aware that attorneys are prohibited from lying – to their clients, the courts, or to anybody else. However, the breadth of the commitments to truth and integrity becomes less obvious when you go beyond the purposeful fabrication of falsehoods.
Is it possible for a lawyer to tell the LIE?
When a lawyer commits perjury in the best interest of his client, is it ethical for him to do so? Brett wonders. When it comes to the age-old subject of whether or not attorneys are prone to lying, Brett’s query is an excellent one. However, attorneys are not supposed to lie and cannot always stop their clients from doing the same. The podcast version of this post is brought to you by Go To Meeting, and I’ll get to the specifics in a minute.
When it comes to lying, how is perjury different from telling the truth?
To begin, I’d want to clarify some of the terms. Brett inquired through email as to whether or not attorneys might engage in “perjury.” To commit perjury, one must make a false declaration under oath, which is defined as “perjury.” Lawyers seldom lie under oath because they don’t provide statements under oath themselves; witnesses do it. Because they are not under oath, attorneys instead use the evidence of witnesses to support their claims.
Making a false claim is never acceptable, even when a lawyer is called upon to testify under oath (for example, when the lawyer is himself a witness). It doesn’t matter who commits perjury. Nevertheless, what happens if the lawyer is not under oath? Model Rules of Professional Conduct of the American Bar Association specify that a lawyer “must not make a false statement of significant fact deliberately.” As a result, attorneys might be reprimanded or even disbarred for telling the truth. But keep in mind that the most important word here is “aware.” A lawyer can’t “knowingly” tell a falsehood.
Is it possible for lawyers to tell if their clients are telling the truth?
A lawyer is not required to know the truth, but there is no legislation requiring them to. As a result, attorneys are often unable to choose between the prohibition against lying and the need to defend their clients “zealously.” As an example, suppose a client seeks legal advice from an attorney. He’s being sued or prosecuted by the state for whatever reason.
The client relates his version of events to the attorney. Lawyers are supposed to be truthful, but they don’t have to verify their clients’ stories. But the lawyer isn’t obligated to fact-check the client’s narrative since he is doubtful. An alternative is for the lawyer to assert that he must accept the client’s version of events and attempt to substantiate it as a ‘zealous’ advocate.