The Champion

July 2007 , Page 34 

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Don't Take the Money and Run

By Ronald J. Friedman

Be Careful When a Client Pays in Cash

I am an assistant U.S. attorney in Seattle, Wash. During the past 12 months, I have participated in the investigation and prosecution of four attorneys for felony offenses which they committed in their professional practices. Each of these attorneys has either been disbarred or is in the process of disbarment proceedings. As a result of their conduct and prosecution, their law practices have been ruined. I write out of a concern for what has happened to them, a concern for our common endeavor to practice law, and a concern for the public perception of lawyers. Also, I write in the hopes that by reading this article, attorneys may avoid such misconduct in the future.

Let me make a few observations at the outset. First, I subscribe to the view that my job and the work that I do in furtherance of the criminal justice system are no more important than your own, whether your practice is criminal defense or on the civil side. W

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