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The Champion

January /February 2007 , Page 38 

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Flipper Ethics

By John M. Burkoff

Your guy suddenly decides to flip and cooperate with the government. This is not what you expected at all and, what’s more, you are not so sure you want to keep representing a client who has made such a decision. So what can you do? What should you do? What do you have to do? Well, the first thing is clear. Unless you have already memorized your jurisdiction’s lawyers’ ethics code, you better take it off the shelf, blow off the dust, and take a look at it before you make a misstep that you will regret later. Assuming that your jurisdiction uses some basic version of the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct (most do today), you will probably find that you would do well to bear the following things in mind.

Your client gets to decide what he wants to do, not you.

It is your client’s life that is at stake, not yours. He gets to decide the basic objectives of the representation (as opposed to the means you will use to attain those obje

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