Saturday, October 6, 2007

Investigative Interviews

One theme that emerged in the symposium that I blogged about earlier today was the crucial importance of an attorney clearly identifying her client when conducting investigative interviews on behalf of institutional clients. We rarely see bar discipline cases that impose discipline for failure to do so, but here's a summary of such a case taken from the web page of the North Carolina Bar:

"Raleigh lawyer Richard Schwartz was reprimanded by the Grievance Committee. Schwartz was retained by a local school board to investigate alleged assaultive conduct by high school students. Schwartz conducted interviews of several alleged victims. Rather than make it clear to the interviewees and their parents that he had a preexisting attorney-client relationship with the school board and was giving advice to the school board about the matter being investigated, he created the impression that he was conducting an independent investigation. Schwartz also lead the district attorney to believe there was no evidence that a felony occurred when in fact there was evidence, which Schwartz deemed incredible, that, if true, would constitute felony sexual offense. Schwartz' misconduct was mitigated by his lack of prior discipline and apparent lack of dishonest motive."

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