Monday, October 29, 2007
I just came across ABA Formal Opinion No. 07-446 (May 5, 2007), which concludes that it is not a violation of the Model Code for lawyers to give undisclosed assistance to pro se litigants. They also appear to indicate that lawyer ghost writing is not unethical. The ABA does not share the view exposed by many that this practice should not be permitted because pro se litigants get special treatment in litigation.
I could not disagree more with this opinion. Lawyers need to be responsible for every thing they advice or write. If they are not, then how can a client rely on such advice or papers? A friend who the lawyer gives legal advice to becomes a client whether the lawyer is paid or not.
In any event, as this ABA opinion notes, there is wide disagreement over this issue and a lawyer should consult his/her state decisions or ethical opinions on this issue.
Note, I previously blogged about lawyer ghostwriting here.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein