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Ethical or Unethical?: That is the question.

In our many years of practicing law we have come across many interesting, sometimes questionable, circumstances waiver the ethical or unethical line. Most of these circumstances have case law and ethical rules to guide us in an ethical fashion. However, occasionally we get thrown a “curve ball.”

In one of our recent cases, an opposing attorney (not to be named) entered his appearance on behalf of all the defendants we were suing. In this particular case, there are over 150 defendants. Due to ethics code, once he entered his appearance, we were no longer allowed to contact or have communications with these defendants and did not have to personally serve them with the lawsuit. (This is LAWYER 101.) After about a month this attorney modified his entry of appearance to only a handful of defendants. This action left the majority of the defendants unrepresented in the case and left to out to dry.

The remaining ethical questions are:

1. Is it ethical to enter your appearance on behalf of a defendant when the defendant has not only NOT given you his expressed written consent but has no idea who you even are?

2. Can an attorney adequately represent a defendant when the attorney has no idea any of the defenses/circumstances/wishes or otherwise of the individual they claim to represent?