In this paper, I argue that the initiation of sexual contact during the tenure of an attorney-client relationship is unethical and should be explicitly proscribed by the rules governing professional conduct. Although such behavior may be implicitly prohibited by existing disciplinary provisions, I advocate the promulgation of a bright line rule. Drawing such a line is required by reasons similar to those applicable in the medical profession. Additional rationales exist as well, which are unique to the legal profession.
Furthermore, the focus of this paper is on sexual relationships arising after the attorney-client relationship has begun. Representation of a client with whom the attorney is already sexually involved, and sexual relations arising subsequent to termination of the attorney-client relationship raise different issues. Rather than detract from the argument in support of the proposed new bright line rule, these issues are being left for another day, another paper.
The first part of this paper discusses the scope of the problem. Justifications for establishing a bright line rule prohibiting attorney-client sexual relations are then considered. Proposed solutions, including specific language for a line-drawing rule, and potential objections are then advanced and discussed.
Goldberg, Nancy E.
"Sex and the Attorney-Client Relationship: An Argument for a Prophylactic Rule,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 26:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol26/iss1/3