I really don’t get it sometimes. A client goes to a lawyer with a legal problem. The lawyer declines the case. And then the lawyer yaps to the press?!? Are you kidding me?
It comes up today in the ongoing train-wreck of actress Lindsay Lohan, who apparently has had a spot of legal trouble with getting boozed up and driving, and the consequences that flowed from it.
But a headline at the ABAJournal on this actress seeking pro bono counsel caught my eye. Is she claiming poverty that she needs free legal help? No. She just paid two others lawyers already so she thinks her third one should be a freebie. Go figure.
Anyway, this is what caught my attention and rankled me, this bit at the end of the article:
Meanwhile, another counsel candidate who says he refused the representation has already dished to People magazine.
His would-be client is “a fragile lost child” who “just doesn’t get it” concerning the seriousness of the case she is involved in, says Stuart Goldberg, a criminal defense attorney based in Chicago. When he met with the actress and two relatives, “they didn’t seem to understand the urgency and gravity of the situation.”
Why the hell is this Stuart Goldberg, apparently a Chicago criminal defense lawyer, talking about what he heard or saw in the confidence of his practice? And why would any future client ever trust him to keep a secret?
The People article has him giving a great deal of information about his supposed-confidential meeting with Lohan at her home.
More details from the visit at People:
At one point in their meeting, Goldberg, worried that Lohan “was in a dangerous state,” asked if she might hurt herself.
“She started sobbing quietly. She was genuinely in pain,” says Goldberg.
And though he advised Lohan to move out of Los Angeles, which he described as a “toxic environment for her,” the actress didn’t seem open to the idea.
“She was like Teflon to that comment,” he says. “It just slid right off her. She seemed to have some inner deep sadness that that was her fate.”
That is no way for a lawyer to act, unless Lohan agreed to let him yap to the press, which seems rather unlikely.
File this one under Attorney Ethics.
Update, 7/16/10: While I have no desire to follow the follies of stars and starlets on any continuing basis (which is one reason, I suppose, I initially mis-spelled Lohan’s first name as “Lindsey”), I do wish to add another version of why this match was not made to measure. Goldberg claimed, apparently, that he turned down Lohan, as noted above. But it may be the other way around. According to this report:
Lindsay Lohan says that she turned Goldberg down because she didn’t like his style. TMZ gives the example of his vanity license plates which say “Snake Charmer”.
Snake Charmer. Nice. I wonder if jurors ever see him get into that car.