November 29, 2018 Top Story

Attorneys Must Self-Report Errors to Current Clients

Lawyers have a duty to disclose a material error to current, but not former, clients

C. Thea Pitzen

A lawyer who commits a material error in the representation of a current client is ethically obligated to disclose that error to the client.

iStockphoto by Getty Images

According to the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility’s Formal Opinion 481, Rule 1.4 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct does not permit a lawyer to conceal a mistake from a client and simply hope for the best. Rather, the ethical lawyer must “self-report” a material mistake to a current client and deal with the consequences that may result.

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