In Praise of Overzealous Representation - Lying to Judges, Deceiving Third Parties, and Other Ethical Conduct

29 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2006  

Monroe H. Freedman

Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law

Abstract

Three ethical rules are both clear and highly desirable - MR 3.3(a)(1), which forbids a lawyer to make a false statement of fact to a tribunal; MR 4.1(a), which forbids a lawyer to make a false statement of material fact to a third person; and MR 8.4(c), which proscribes conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

Nevertheless, by considering the larger legal context of the lawyer's role, by understanding inconsistent ethical rules in the light of reason, and by applying insights of moral philosophy, this article concludes that there are circumstances in which a lawyer can ethically make a false statement of fact to a tribunal, can ethically make a false statement of material fact to a third person, and can ethically engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

Keywords: Zeal, Overzeal, Lying, Deceit, Equivocation, Mental Reservation

Suggested Citation

Freedman, Monroe H., In Praise of Overzealous Representation - Lying to Judges, Deceiving Third Parties, and Other Ethical Conduct. Hofstra Law Review, Vol. 34, 2006; Hofstra Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-9. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=896511

Monroe H. Freedman (Contact Author)

Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law ( email )

121 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
United States

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