A client was charged with a speeding ticket and had to hire a lawyer for representation.
The attorney appeared to court on behalf of the client since they reside out of state. The lawyer
argued on behalf of the client and presented a clean driving record to the court. The client's
matter was taken under advisement to dismiss the summons. For this to happen, the client was to
pay all court costs, maintain a clean driving record for six months and finally complete a safety
driving school. The lawyer communicated all these to the client. Unfortunately, a week before
the review date, the client was yet to complete the safety driving course, and the lawyer had to
communicate the consequences of not completing the course. Attempts to contact the client
before the review day were futile, and the lawyer had to appear before the court without the
client. The lawyer assumed but was not sure that the client had finished the course. The judge
listened to the case and dismissed the case even though the lawyer had expected a guilty plea.
1.What Ethical Duties does the Lawyer have to the Court and the Client in this
In the above scenario, the lawyer owes the court honesty since he presented the wrong
information. Instead of correcting the judge, who assumed that everything had been done, he let
it slide. Due to this, the lawyer violated Rule 3.3, which talks about candor toward the tribunal.
The lawyer owes the client attorney-client privilege. According to Rule 1.6, the lawyer had no
right to reveal the client's information unless he had written consent from the client.
2.Discuss.Would your answer change from the perspective of a biblical worldview?
The perspective of a biblical worldview would not change my answer since several
instances from the Bible support it. According to Jesus, we should fast, pray, and do almsgiving
in secret since the aim should be not to please others. Jesus listens to our prayers, and we confess
our sins to him, and he forgives us (Steve,1998). But when you pray, go into your room, close
the door and pray to your unseen Father. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will
reward you. (Matthew 6:6), Good News Bible. Today lawyers have taken up this role to listen to
their clients' confessions and offer them legal services.
Second, some tasks have to be accomplished in secret. Jesus had several instances where
encounters with some people were done in secret, like in the Samaritan woman. She believed
that he was asking for drinking water from her, but he revealed the woman's secrets. The fact is,
you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said
is quite true." (John 4:18). The discussion was private and immediately stopped when the
disciples appeared. A lawyer maintains a client's personal information. Rule 1.0 on terminology
indicates that the consent should be in written form.
3.Would your answer change if the lawyer knew that the client had not completed
the traffic school?
Had the lawyer known the client had not completed the traffic school, my answer would
change. According to Rule 1.4 on communications, the lawyer had relayed all the necessary
information to the client. The client was to pay all court costs, maintain a clean driving record for
six months and complete a driving safety school. A week before the review date, the lawyer
contacted the client and was yet to finish his driving school course. The lawyer communicated
to the client the repercussions and had done his advisor duty according to Rule 2.1. The lawyer
was honest with the client and gave his straightforward advice, but he would not force the client
to complete the driving school. Rule 4.1 on truthfulness in statements to others, an attorney
should not make any false statement to a third party or fail to disclose information that avoids the
client from carrying out an offense. Clients confide in lawyers for the truth expecting no
judgment from them. Nicodemus went to visit Jesus at night, and through their conversation,
Jesus pointed out that for Nicodemus to see the heavenly kingdom, Nicodemus had to be born
again. Jesus explained to him the process of being born again, and later Nicodemus got saved.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light
because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)
1. Should the death of a client be a factor on the scale?
The death of a client should be a factor on the scale. This point is supported by Rule 1.1
on competence which ensures that lawyers provide competent representation to their clients and
accord them the attorney-client privilege Attorney-client privilege continues to protect the client
after their death and the lawyer cannot disclose the client’s information whether oral or written.
2. Always, or only under certain circumstances?
It is not always that the death of a client is a factor on the scale. The attorney-client
privilege may change under certain circumstances.
3.If the latter, what should these circumstances be?
Four circumstances limit the attorney-client privilege after a client’s death. The first
circumstance is when a client that had written a will dies. Rule 8.4 on misconduct expects the
lawyer to behave professionally and reveal to the client's family what is contained in the client's
written will. The second circumstance is when shareholders of a corporation wish to bend the
attorney-client privilege of the corporation. The third circumstance is where a client has
committed or is in the process of carrying out a criminal and fraudulent act. In this case,
communication between the attorney and the client is not privileged. According to Rule 1.2 on
the scope of representation and allocation of authority between client and lawyer, a lawyer
should not knowingly assist a client in committing crime or fraud. The fourth circumstance is
where two parties are represented by the same attorney in a single legal issue. Neither of the
clients can assert the attorney-client privilege over the other. This argument is supported by Rule
1,7, which talks about the conflict of interest of current clients.
IBA International Principles of Conduct for the Legal Profession Adopted on 28 May 2011 by
the International Bar Association
Model Rules of Professional Conduct,2021 Edition
Seigel, M.L. &Kelley. J. L., Lawyers Crossing Lines, Ten Stories (2 nd Ed.2010).
Steven H. Hobbs, The Lawyer’s Duties of Confidentiality and Avoidance of Harm to Others:
Lessons from Sunday School,66 Fordham L.Rev.1431 (1998)