Sample Essay on Ethical issues facing defense Attorneys

What is the proper role of defense attorneys regarding their clients? Should attorneys pursue the wishes of their clients even if they think it is not in the clients’ best interest?

The goal of a judicial process is to arrive at the truth; in this path defence attorney have a responsibility of assembling and presenting before the court evidence that would exonerate his/her client (Pollock, 2017). The attorney has a duty to continue with the client’s case unless he is discharged by the client, or continued representation will result to breach in disciplinary rule or there is clear case of malicious prosecution (Pollock, 2017).

An attorney would likely face an ethical dilemma between balancing clients and courts interest. The concept of zealous defending has been advocated in various discourse, this means that the defence attorney can do all he can within his powers to ensure that the client wins. However, an attorney should refuse to take instructions if zealous defends would lead to perjury, making false statements, misleading the court and other improper conducts (Pollock, 2017).

What if it would hurt a third party (but not be illegal)? 

As stated, an attorney has a sole duty to defend his client, where this duty causes injury to a third party unintentional, the ethical thing to do is to apologise (Pollock, 2017).. What is important is that the attorney confined himself to proper evidence in an attempt to help his client.




Do you think that attorneys should maintain confidentiality if their clients are involved in ongoing criminal activity that is not inherently dangerous? 

The fundamental principle in the legal practise is on attorney-client privilege. This privilege binds an attorney to keep the information received confidential; this means an advocate cannot be compelled to give evidence, information or materials that would breach confidentiality (Pollock, 2017). The trust that a client places on an attorney should never be broken and only on exceptional circumstances.

If a client engage in any act prohibited by law or tort and is of criminal nature, the client can refuse to take further instructions from the client and if compelled by a court he may give information as to the ongoing criminal act. An attorney cannot cite attorney-client privilege in such an instance.





Pollock, J. M. (2017). Ethical Dilemmas & Decisions in Criminal Justice. (9th ed.).Cengage Learning. ISBN-13: 978-1-305-57737-4