Dewey, Bangham & Howe: Sex With Lawyers

Ken AshfordCourts/Law, Sex/Morality/Family Values1 Comment

Every lawyer knows — because it’s drilled into us — that it is unethical to have sex with a client.  It violates the Rules of Professional Conduct in every state bar, and can lead to fines or suspension of your legal license.  The rationale is that having sex with a client creates a conflict of interest.  Also demeans the profession, I suppose.

Professor Eugene Volokh, always with an eye out for the interesting legal case, discovers a story out of Wisconsin, where a lawyer was suspended for having a three-way with his client and his client’s girlfriend.

It gets a bit dicey here, but apparently the lawyer (a male) and his client (another male) engaged in sexual conduct at the same time with the client’s girlfriend (a female).  This, believe it or not, was in lieu of legal fees. 

The legal question that the court had to consider was — in doing so, can it be said that the lawyer had sex "with" his client?  The key word here is "with".

You’ll want to read about it here (and the discussion/tittering in the comments), but the consensus is that the court got it right.  Although the attorney was rightfully suspended (there were other things involved — drugs, etc.), it seems that — technically — he did not have sex with his client.  See if you agree.