Sunday, March 1, 2009
A lawyer suddenly withdraws his appearance and "disaffirms prior oral and written representations." This is referred to as a "noisy withdrawal." The setting here, which is important, is an SEC matter - thus triggering Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX). The experts seem to find that he acted correctly (see here and here). Christine Hurt of Conglomerate Blog provides an in-depth analysis of Rule 205.3 of the Securities Exchange Act (see here). And it should be noted that the "noisy withdrawal" concept was controversial from its inception. (See letter by 79 law firms here).
The real issue here is not whether the attorney acted correctly in withdrawing his representation of client Stanford. Rather, the issue that needs to now be examined, in context, is whether this is a good rule to have. Is it good to have attorneys withdraw from client representation in these types of situations, and is it good to have them announce it to the world? In the long run will we have better compliance with the law having the attorney withdraw, or will noisy withdrawals result in criminality being kept undercover? And which way will best protect the public?