Some Client Delusions Are Useful

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7 Responses

  1. Craig says:

    Is it ethical to lie to clients for their own good?

  2. matt says:

    i am scared to admit i think that is a good question

  3. ccluskin says:

    Is it ethical to lie to clients for their own good?

    This is a pretty simple no, I think. Ethics is tricky business, but there seems to be only a few cases where Kant's categorical imperative can be overridden. Children, incompetents, et cetera. If someone is just dense, I don't know if it makes the grade.

    Perhaps more to the point: Is it ethical to not tell the truth to clients for their own good?

    Say client X believes the government is tapping his phone, displays all the characteristics of someone who would fail to grasp the rarity of government wiretaps, et cetera. By not forcing the truth on him (at the risk of undermining his trust in you), you probably don't break any ethical or moral rules.

    Although you may not break a rule, however, you may be shirking a moral duty by doing so. It may not be un-ethical, but it's certainly not OK either.

  4. TomH says:

    Well, to satisy your ehtical duty you only need to tell them the truth once. Will someone with an entrenched view believe you when you tell them once? Probably not.

  5. matt says:

    Ccluskin, if you will allow me id like to ask a follow up question (I'm not a lawyer obviously)what if you tell him the truth and he thinks you working for "them" what do you do then?

  6. jb says:

    "I doubt they are tapping your phone, but I still urge you not to talk about the case over the phone or otherwise with anyone."

    Conveys that they're not tapping the phone, while allowing your client to believe that they shouldn't talk about the case. The fact that they believe so on the off chance you're wrong, not because of your real reasoning, shouldn't matter.

  7. Doug says:

    Perhaps you could just say, "while i don't think they are tapping your phones, you never know, so shut the F up about your case."