Attorney-Client, Sexual Relations


Recent calls for increased regulation of attorney-client sexual relations have led several state courts, legislatures, and bar associations to consider specific rules restricting such practices. Advocates of enhanced regulation seek institutional recognition of the power differential inherent in the lawyer-client relationship. Critics prefer to rely on existing ethics rules governing attorney misconduct. In this Article Professor Livingston first reviews the judicial and administrative response to clients who accuse their attorneys of sexual impropriety. She next examines recently enacted state rules regulating attorney sexual misconduct and discusses pending legislative proposals. Professor Livingston then recommends a ban on all attorney-client sexual relations where the client is an individual, except where the parties had a pre-existing relationship. Finally, she discusses her proposal as compared to current rules governing the psychiatrist-patient relationship and in light of relevant constitutional considerations.

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