Good news! It’s OK to sleep with your client’s wife in Mississippi! The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that slipping your client’s wife the salami doesn’t establish a breach of fiduciary duty. The client was also the attorney’s “best friend.” Oh, yes, this attorney has that necessary snark factor I blogged about yesterday.
“I was surprised that an attorney can have sexual relations with a client’s spouse and that it’s not a breach of fiduciary duty,” said attorney Phillip Brookins of the Walker Group, who is representing the ex-client. I was surprised too, but under the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, you can even f*ck a client, as long as the relationship started before the matter did:
Model Rules of Professional Conduct Client-Lawyer Relationship
Rule 1.8 Conflict Of Interest: Current Clients: Specific Rules (j) A lawyer shall not have sexual relations with a client unless a consensual sexual relationship existed between them when the client-lawyer relationship commenced.
The rule is silent as to a client’s spouse, so I say they’re fair game. However, it wasn’t a total victory:
Although the supreme court decision (PDF) yesterday reversed a trial court’s denial of summary judgment to the defendants concerning the affair-related breach claim, the case is continuing to move forward concerning additional claims of alienation of affection and negligent infliction of emotional distress against the partner, who is a former president of Baker Donelson.