If I get a pro bono lawyer who is willing to take on my case for free, will that be ethical?
A. It depends. If you’re asking if it would be ethically permissible to pay your lawyer, the answer is yes—as long as your intention in doing so is not to influence her in any way. But paying someone else for his or her time and expertise may amount to an impermissible gift under both federal and state ethics rules. And this may also run afoul of other laws designed to discourage conflicts between lawyers representing different clients. For example, some states have restrictions against sharing information with one client’s lawyer about another client-lawyer relationship (known as “conflict of interest law”). This type of law applies even when no money changes hands between the parties involved; such laws generally apply only after they are violated by a specific person or entity, but do not prevent just anyone from engaging in unethical behavior—only those with whom there has been actual contact regarding the matter at hand over which reliance was placed on by the alleged violator and his or her attorney(s). You should check with legal counsel before proceeding further with either hiring a pro bono defense attorney or requesting confidential advice about how best use tax deductible funds donated toward paying for your legal fees.
Q&A: Lawyers About Attorneys: An Interview With Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader (1934–) shot into