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Abstract

The Model Rules of Professional Conduct fail to provide lawyers with adequate guidance for dealing with situations in which a client has used the lawyer's services to perpetuate a fraud. He Model Rules do not discuss confidentiality in cases of client-committed fraud at all, and the provided exceptions to the confidentiality requirement do little to help attorney's deal with past frauds committed by a client with the unwitting aid of the attorney. The Model Rules should be amended to authorize disclosure of client confidences to rectify a crime or fraud when the lawyer's services have been used in the commission of that crime or fraud. A lawyers duty of loyalty to the client is not absolute; society, too, has a right to be able to rely on the accuracy of information provided by clients through their attorneys. Such disclosures do not undermine the time-honored duty of confidentiality because disclosure is allowed when a client misuses the attorney-client relationship. The client-based approach to lawyering must have some limits, and a lawyers duty to the public and the justice system may sometimes outweigh the otherwise important duty of confidentiality to individual clients.

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