Misuse of Titles by Former Government Lawyers

5 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2019

See all articles by Peter A. Joy

Peter A. Joy

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Kevin C. McMunigal

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Date Written: December 2, 2019

Abstract

A number of lawyers associated with President Donald Trump, within and outside of his administration, have faced ethical challenges. While the ethical issues for President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen have grabbed the most headlines, actions of Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on behalf of World Patent Marketing, a company the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accused of bilking millions of dollars from consumers, also raised serious ethical questions. Among these questions are Whittaker’s using his title and position as a former U.S. attorney in Iowa in letters long after he had left that position and adopting and forwarding statements prepared by others in responding to complaints about World Patent Marketing.

Is it ethical for a former, high-ranking government lawyer to use his or her title and position after leaving office? May a lawyer adopt, incorporate, and present statements prepared by others as the lawyer’s own work without personally verifying the statements? In this ethics column, we explore these and related questions.

Keywords: ethics, legal ethics, professional responsibility, government lawyer, lawyer, government title, title

JEL Classification: K10, K20, K40

Suggested Citation

Joy, Peter A. and McMunigal, Kevin C., Misuse of Titles by Former Government Lawyers (December 2, 2019). 34 Criminal Justice 64 (Spring 2019); Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 19-12-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3496992 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3496992

Peter A. Joy (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States
313-935-6445 (Phone)

Kevin C. McMunigal

Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )

11075 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106-7148
United States
2163683613 (Phone)
2163682086 (Fax)

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