Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Better Call Saul and Attorney Ethics

Slate.com offers a Better Call Saul podcast that recaps and explores each week's episode. This week, a professional ethics attorney, Nicole Hyland, joins the podcast to discuss the ethics of the lead character's actions. Ms. Hyland joins the podcast around minute 14:40.

One of the questions Ms. Hyland addresses include whether it's an ethical violation to rummage through someone's garbage can in the alley to find out more about them. Says Saul Goodman, "You can't say it's private if a hobo can use it as a wigwam."

Here are another couple questions the attorney addresses: Can you spill coffee on a police officer to distract him or her from noticing your client is stealing? What's the scope of permissible advertising by attorneys? How do you advertise ethically on Twitter? Can you impersonate another attorney? (The answer may surprise you.)

Ms. Hyland assesses violations according to New York law, so if you'd like to compare her analysis against the law in your state or do a 50-state survey, check out the ABA's Center for Professional Responsibility. She also has a Tumblr blog on the subject if you're looking for fodder for a law review article.