Misuse of Titles by Former Government Lawyers
34 Criminal Justice 64 (Spring 2019)
5 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2019
Date Written: December 2, 2019
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: Suggested Citation