It’s cold outside. When I got up yesterday, the mercury (or at least the virtual mercury on my iPhone) read 0°. That’s a total lack of degrees. None. While that maybe downright balmy for those in the Midwest or up North, it’s a bit too cold for my taste. Nevertheless, I ventured outside, first heeding the weatherman’s advice to cover up any exposed skin.
There was at least one part of my body, though, that I didn’t need anyone to tell me to cover up. That’s because the Rules of Professional Conduct obligate me to do so.
Still with me? Sometimes lawyers are presented with the opportunity to do business with a client. Whether it’s investing in a client, purchasing something of value from a client, or even introducing a client to a third party, transacting business with a client whose interests lawyers are charged with protecting presents a unique set of risks. ABA Model Rule 1.8 thus requires lawyers to comply with specific steps before engaging in such a transaction. Though the requirements vary by jurisdiction, they generally include written disclosures, notice to consult with independent counsel, and informed consent. This way, the client can make sure it gets the appropriate advice. And if the deal does not proceed in a manner that the client anticipates, you, and your body parts, are covered.
And if you still feel the need to complain about the cold, just be thankful that you’re not Phil Connors.
Or the Dukes of Hazard.