Adam Dodek posted to SLAW on February 13, 2014.
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In The Lincoln Lawyer, lawyer-hero Mickey Haller learns from his father that “there is no client as scary as an innocent man”. In an interview, author Michael Connelly explained that for the lawyer defending an innocent man there can only be one acceptable outcome: Not guilty. “There can be no middle ground. No deal. No plea bargain.” According to Connelly, this places enormous pressure on the lawyer because if the lawyer fails and the client is convicted and goes to prison, the lawyer “has to live with their own guilt in knowing that an innocent man is in prison because their effort wasn’t good enough.”
If the innocent man is the scariest client for a lawyer, someone like Toronto Mayor Rob Ford may be the most dangerous client. Rob Ford has demonstrated certain qualities that should make any lawyer hesitant to take him as a client. The most critical of these are the trio of an apparent absolute refusal to listen to advice, a belief that the rules do not apply to him and a remarkable capacity for self-delusion. Together, these make for a dangerous combination.
Can a lawyer trust someone like Mayor Ford? Is Rob Ford likely to trust his lawyer? These are critical questions because the lawyer-client relationship is based on mutual trust. The Supreme Court of Canada set out the importance of this trust in articulating the lawyer as a fiduciary in R v. Neil (2002) as confirmed in Canadian National Railways v. McKercher (2013).
The client must trust the lawyer but the lawyer must also trust the client. When there is no trust between client and lawyer, it is both difficult for the lawyer to help the client and also dangerous for the lawyer.
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