Questions on Counseling or Assisting Crime or Fraud

1. Although in general the client may determine the ends that may be pursued in the lawyer-client relationship, Rule 1.2(d) puts a limit on these ends.  The lawyer cannot counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent.  Of course, such assistance by the lawyer might also make the lawyer an accomplice under the criminal law or an joint tortfeasor under tort law.  But violation of 1.2(d) is possible through conduct that does not make one an accomplice or joint tortfeasor.

2. A client comes to you and says that he plans to painlessly euthanize his mother, who is suffering from Alzheimers.  He fully expects to be arrested, but thinks that the law against euthanasia in such cases is unjust.  He asks you to defend him if he is indeed arrested.  May you agree under Rule 1.2(d)?  Would it make a difference if the client thought not merely that the law against euthanasia was unjust but also that it was unconstitutional?

3. You are defending a client on a murder charge.  He is out on bail, although this took a good deal of arguing on your part, since he showed some signs of being likely to flee the country.  You client asks you what countries do not have extradition treaties with the United States.  What do you do, under Rule 1.2(d)?

4. Your client is a loan shark and wants you to draft up a loan agreement form.  The form is to include interest rates that you know are usurious and other terms that you know are legally unconscionable.  Under Rule 1.2(d), may you draft the form?

5. A client comes to you for tax advice.  He wants to know at exactly what level of claimed deduction the IRS is likely to audit someone whom it suspects of making fraudulent deductions for charitable contributions.  You know that the IRS never audits anyone on this ground if he claims less than $300 of charitable contributions.  May you tell your client this?

6. Consider the following scenario. You represented a company that obtained loans from a local bank. In issuing the loans, the bank relied upon your opinion letter, which certified that the company had sufficient valid contracts with customers to repay the loans. You subsequently learn that the company is in a worse financial situation than you were led to believe, because many of the documents that you relied upon were forged by the company's officers. You know that the company intends to apply for future loans from the same bank. The company has agreed that it will not ask you to represent it in further dealings in which the validity of your opinion concerning the company's worth would be relevant. May you represent the company in another capacity?

7. You and your client are engaging in the negotiation of an agreement between your client and a retailer. You discover that while you were out of the room your client falsely told the retailer that no significant competitor for your client's product is likely. In fact, you and the client know that a competitor is about to introduce a cheaper and better version of your product in a few weeks. Negotiations are about to continue. Under the Model Rules, must you withdraw?