Now, don’t sue me, Lisa! Remember what it says in the “About” section (above), this is all just my opinion. When I say you are a stunningly unethical lawyer, that’s just my analysis; it’s true I know something about legal ethics, teaching and consulting on it full time, but I can’t assert my opinion as fact. I can’t read your mind or slog through your soul. I don’t know what a bar disciplinary committee would decide, though I know this is a famously gray area in legal ethics, so unethical conduct is unlikely to be punished. And when I say you’re a hack, remember that “hack” isn’t a description subject to objective proof, any more than, say, “asshole.” Perhaps your definition of “hack’ is different from mine. In fact, I’m sure it is.
That said, your conduct is a professional disgrace. I think. Who knows? I may be wrong.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News published this weekend, Bloom, speaking of her recently terminated representation of Harvey Weinstein, said
“I can see that my just being associated with this was a mistake. All I can say is, from my perspective, I thought, ‘Here is my chance to get to the root of the problem from the inside. I am usually on the outside throwing stones. Here is my chance to be in the inside and to get a guy to handle this thing in a different way.’ I thought that would be a positive thing, but clearly it did not go over at all.”
Bloom added that she will no longer represent men accused of sexual misconduct, “even those who convincingly tell me they are innocent….I will just make the best choices I can out of every situation. I have clearly not been successful. I think anybody who does big bold things fails. And I definitely failed on this one.”
What Bloom has failed at is called “being a trustworthy and competent lawyer.”
The next day, during an appearance on Good Morning America, Bloom even more explicitly threw her former client under the metaphorical bus:
“It’s gross, yeah,” Bloom told GMA. “I’m working with a guy who has behaved badly over the years, who is genuinely remorseful, who says, you know, ‘I have caused a lot of pain.’”
Did Bloom actually graduate from law school, or did she just apprentice in her mother’s office (she is Gloria Allred’s daughter) and somehow get an honorary license? Did she never learn about the a lawyer’s duties of loyalty and confidentiality? She obviously didn’t know about conflicts of interest, since she represented Weinstein while agreeing to let him turn her book into a TV miniseries.
Ethics Alarms has previously criticized lawyers who have publicly undermined their former clients. The most recent example was last year, when a former Trump lawyer used his experiences while representing the future Presidential candidate decades earlier to write a scathing mid-campaign attack on his former client in the Huffington Post. I wrote,
There is strong disagreement in the profession about whether the answer to “Is this unethical?” should be an outright yes. The status of loyalty among the legal ethics values hierarchy is as hotly contested now as it ever has been. If a lawyer wants to attack a former client in a matter unrelated to the representation and no confidences are revealed in the process, is that a legal ethics breach? If it is, it would be a very tough one to prosecute. I think it’s a general ethics breach, as in wrong and unprofessional. It is disloyal, and clients should be able to trust their lawyers not to come back years later, after a client let the lawyer see all of his or her warts, and say, “This guy’s an asshole.” It undermines the strength of the public’s trust in the profession.
Thomas Wells, however, had several ethics defenses Bloom does not have. His attack came long, long after Trump had ended the representation, and Wells’ criticism was unrelated to the subject matter of that representation. Bloom, in contrast, was not only commenting negatively about a client she only left a week ago, but her comments were directly related to the subject matter of that litigation. Moreover, they could be harmful to her former client as he faces possible legal action. I regard the conduct and the statements as unconscionable. Bloom is sacrificing a former client to protect her brand. Posted her mother in defense of the chip off the old block, “I would like to say that my daughter Lisa Bloom is and always has been a champion for women’s rights. Nothing that has happened in the recent past has altered my views of Lisa’s commitment to protecting and advancing women’s rights.”
Except, Gloria, your daughter (and you) are lawyers first, or supposed to be. Bloom’s comments may be right on the line, but on the line is still too close: she just about admits Weinstein’s guilt, and what a lawyer learns in the course of a representation may not be used against the interests of that client by the lawyer, even if others eventually obtain the same information. This is the duty of confidentiality (ABA Model Rule 1.6).
Criticizing former clients has prompted some states to discipline lawyers: after Jack Kevorkian went on “60 Minutes” and explained how his newest “machine” worked, his counsel at the time held a press conference announcing his withdrawal, explaining that he had no idea Dr. Death was killing people rather than helping them kill themselves, and denounced his ex-client. Michigan’s bar gave the layer a public reprimand.
In the contentious argument over the Wells attack on Trump—I think a lot of the contention arose out of the widespread hatred of Trump among my colleagues, which melted their objectivity—one clear-thinking legal ethicist wrote,
“I think the lawyer should be disciplined. Not only is he revealing confidences, but who wants to trust the profession when they know they could be publicly slammed by their own “advocate”. I think it is shameful.”
Of course, that’s only my opinion….