Lawyerly Liaisons

According to the state bar, attorney privilege apparently extends beyond clients' briefs

The appellate decision came in a ruling by Chief Justice Michael Schneider, Justice Tim Taft and retired Justice Jackson Smith. Their opinion describes a happy relationship between the attorney and his client, noting that Gaspard met Beadle's friends and played with her children and generally treated her well. It also includes such platitudes as "Couples will often promise to do things for their partner while they are involved in a romantic relationship" and that "in today's society, individuals need to have thick skin."

"The court ruled that the law allows a lawyer to fuck his client as long as she likes it, and if she complains later that she didn't like it, then tough," says Doherty. "I think this case has come up at this time in order to give us, the bar, an opportunity to see how wrong we've been."

Lupo hasn't decided if he will appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, although several attorneys have called him to offer their assistance. Doherty hopes that the Supreme Court responds to this opinion and initiates a rule against attorney-client sex, whether or not the case is appealed.

The bill arrived - after the romance ended.
Scott Gilbert
The bill arrived - after the romance ended.

Hopes aren't as high for attorneys themselves to ban lawyerly liaisons. In 1994 the state bar's Women in the Profession Committee proposed a rule against attorney-client sex if it was likely to hurt the client or the client's interests. It was tabled and forgotten by the bar. History seems to be repeating itself. Just last month the bar voted to table the Professional Conduct Committee's no-sex proposal as well.

"Anybody who could read our quid pro quo rule and defend that," says Schuwerk, "probably should turn in their ticket."

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