July 09, 2020 Feature

Risks from an Absent Client and an Unreliable Agent

Lawyers are often asked by one person to provide legal services to another, which can raise ethical questions.

by Michael Downey

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“Our client Pat is threatening to file a bar complaint,” Paradox told Ethox.

“What happened?” Ethox asked.

“Our firm is defending two restaurant owners, Chris and Pat,” Paradox said. “Chris handled business matters while Pat ran the kitchen. The restaurant struggled, and the landlord sued Chris and Pat for unpaid rent.

“All our communications were with Chris,” Paradox continued, “so when Chris asked us to file a counterclaim against the landlord, we did.”

“OK,” Ethox responded.

“That’s what we thought,” Paradox said. “But then Pat called, furious that we had sued the landlord. Pat claimed to be unaware of the lawsuit and said we were not authorized to sue the landlord. Are we in trouble?”

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