Counsel’s Duty of Candor to a Client: It’s Time for a Model Rule

Vol. 22 No. 3

By

Raymond J. McKoski is a retired circuit court judge from Lake County, Illinois. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at The John Marshall Law School, in Chicago.

Introduction1

As fiduciaries, lawyers owe their clients the duties of candor, honesty, and truthfulness. Because of the “sacred nature” of the attorney-client relationship2 and the special power that lawyers possess as officers of the court,3 these duties are cast in absolute terms. Thus, counsel’s obligation is one of “absolute and perfect candor or openness and honesty,” without “any concealment or deception, however slight.”4 This fundamental requirement of “truth-speaking”5 forms the foundation for the court’s authority to compel lawyers to act honestly toward their clients.6

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