Legal Services Lawyers and the Influence of Third Parties on The Lawyer-Client Relationship: Some Thoughts From Scholars, Practitioners, and Courts
Among the challenges facing the lawyer who renders legal services to clients with limited means are ethical and professional questions relating to the influence of third parties on the lawyer-client relationship. Although all lawyers may potentially face ethical dilemmas involving third parties, legal services lawyers are particularly vulnerable to such issues because, unlike most lawyers, legal services lawyers generally rely on the financial support of someone other than their client. These challenges may take many forms, affecting a variety of ethical and professional considerations. Levine examines a number of areas in which bar association committees, scholars, and courts have addressed the issue of third-party influence on legal services lawyers. Part I discusses the challenges to the fundamental value of attorney- client confidentiality that may arise as a result of the influence of third parties on legal services lawyers. Part II describes the more direct influence of third parties on legal services lawyers, addressing problems relating to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Finally, Part III briefly discusses some of the broader issues of third- party influence on resource allocation in legal services lawyering. Levine concludes by advocating that participants in these discussions should sense the importance of carrying forward the effort by synthesizing the contributions of all those involved on practical, theoretical, and philosophical levels.
67 Fordham L. Rev. 2319 (1998-1999).