Role of the Defense Attorney: Not Just an Advocate

6 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2012

Date Written: 2010


This essay was written for a symposium where several authors each analyzed the same factual hypothetical of a client planning to commit perjury. It argues that the lawyer’s ethical role must account for duties to the court and public, as well as the duties to the client. The tri-partite role of the attorney is the beginning point when dealing with what has been called the criminal defense attorney’s trilemma. The answer to the hypothetical posed is found in accepting the responsibility to fulfill each of the required ethical roles in any given situation. This essay argues that the situation of a client’s perjury should be analyzed with a recognition that each of the multiple roles implicate distinct responsibilities, and further that each role has an ethical perspective which must be considered and fulfilled in every action and decision the lawyer makes.

Keywords: Ethics, Defense Attorney, Perjury

Suggested Citation

Flowers, Roberta Kemp, Role of the Defense Attorney: Not Just an Advocate (2010). Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 7, p. 647, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Roberta Kemp Flowers (Contact Author)

Stetson University - College of Law ( email )

1401 61st Street South
Gulfport, FL 33707
United States

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