2013 (Legal Ethics) Bar Exam Questions: Multiple Choice Question 16

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ABLE Law Office has a retainer agreement with Santino, a businessman with shady connections, who has recently been charged with laundering money for an illegal drugs syndicate using Cable Co., Santino’s holding company. The lawyers of ABLE Law Office assigned to handle Santino’s account have been impleaded as co-defendants for incorporating and actively handling the affairs of Cable Co.In its bid to strengthen its case against the defendants, the prosecution approached you (as the least guilty defendant who would qualify for a discharge as a state witness) and offers to make you a state witness.

Can you accept, within the bounds of professional ethics, the prosecution’s offer? (1%)

(A) No, as Santino’s lawyer you are duty-bound to protect his interests,ably represent him in court, and not turn against him.

(B) Yes, as an officer of the court, you have the duty to disclose to the court information crucial to the case.

(C) No, the information you acquired involving the criminal case against Santino is covered by the privileged communications rule.

(D) Yes, a lawyer may testify against his client provided he first severs the lawyer-client relationship.

(E) Yes, the law of self-preservation is akin to the law of self-defense and stands higher than any obligation you may have with your client.

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