That Settles It, If It Wasn’t Obvious Already: Lisa Bloom Is An Unethical Hack (But I Could Be Wrong…)

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Bloom added that she will no longer represent men accused of sexual misconduct, “even those who convincingly tell me they are innocent….I will just make the best choices I can out of every situation.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.” 

Bingo.

Of course, that’s only my opinion….

 

31 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, U.S. Society

31 responses to “That Settles It, If It Wasn’t Obvious Already: Lisa Bloom Is An Unethical Hack (But I Could Be Wrong…)

    • Other Bill

      But Charles, aren’t you being patronizing and condescending, as a guy, lecturing a woman about how she should feel and think and act in relation to sexual abuse? Isn’t this rather brazen and inappropriate? Aren’t you mansplaining? I thought you were woke and enlightened. What gives?

      • charlesgreen

        The difference is that both Jack and I are not telling her how to think as a woman, but as a lawyer. And I’m pretty sure that we both agree, as do most women, that in the case of legal ethics, law transcends gender. Show me a significant group of women who think otherwise and I might reconsider, but I’m not aware of said group.

        • Other Bill

          According to you, gender trumps everything Charles, so you’re stuck. Sorry.

          • Other Bill

            And according to your position, a woman’s feelings about sexual abuse are sacrosanct, so they should be inviolate, certainly compared to a piddling matter like legal ethics. After all, who’s in charge of legal ethics anyway? The white male power structure, that’s who! I’m shocked how patrimonial you are.

            • Chris

              This is very douchey behavior, OB. You tried to pull a gotcha on Charles, he explained why it didn’t work based on principles that I would hope you two share, and you responded by basically saying he was lying about those principles, with no evidence to support your false claims about his beliefs.

              You can do better.

  1. Matthew B

    This should be grounds for bar sanctions, no question in my mind.

  2. It seems those criticizing Bloom for putting ideology over her clients’ interests were correct. Sean Hannity was after her when she was representing Weinstein, weirdly claiming that Bloom’s politics were the controlling force when she decided to represent a huge contributor to the Democrat party. In a way, Hannity was correct (Good God! Did I just type that? I need The Macallan, stat!). She did put ideology over Weinstein’s interests. Women’s rights trump her client’s rights to counsel, and the attendant duties an attorney has to represent and protect a client’s interests.

    jvb

    • Other Bill

      Great point, John.h. I’m pretty sure she was tasked by the Dems, and or the Clintons, to rehabilitate Weinstein to cover for his Dem and media beneficiaries. When she saw which way the winds were blowing and that became mission impossible, she bailed out.

      • charlesgreen

        “I’m pretty sure…”
        Any basis for your certitude?

        • Other Bill

          None whatsoever Charles, other than how many years of watching the Clintons in operation. Let’s see, Bill ran for president in 1992, so that would give us about a quarter century of watching them in action.Plus the fact that Lanny Davis was involved as well. He’s joined at the hip with the Clintons and has been since New Haven.

          • Other Bill

            And I’m tired as hell of you and Chris chirping “Prove it!” when someone expresses an opinion or proposes a theory. It’s childish and annoying. Stop being such chimps. I’d say that tactic is right above screaming “I know you are but what am I?” in the sand box.

            • Other Bill wrote, “And I’m tired as hell of you and Chris chirping “Prove it!” when someone expresses an opinion or proposes a theory. It’s childish and annoying. Stop being such chimps. I’d say that tactic is right above screaming “I know you are but what am I?” in the sand box.”

              I know this is just a continuation of your deflection; but, if we assert something as fact, shouldn’t we be be able to support that assertion with something? Furthermore; if we assert something as fact shouldn’t we have the information to support that claim relatively handy, after all, we are making the claim based on “something” not “nothing” right?

              I’ve challenged lots of people to support their claims and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that basic challenge in a conversation. I’m fully aware that I can be hard and blunt but simply asking someone to support their claim is not childish although attacking others for asking is kinda childish.

              • Other Bill

                ZMan. I proposed a theory and gave some circumstantial evidence to support it. “Prove it!” is baloney. Anyone is free to agree or disagree or buy it or not buy it. Again, I think what Charles was really saying was “The Clintons would never do that!” Which is preposterous, but it would have been an honest statement of where he’s coming from.

        • charlesgreen wrote, ” “I’m pretty sure…” Any basis for your certitude?”

          Charles,
          I’m sure you already know; but, “I’m pretty sure…” is really not in the same logical realm as “certitude”; your question, as worded, is nonsense.

          • charlesgreen

            There’s a difference between saying “I’m pretty sure the temperature was hot in Albuquerque that September,” and saying “I’m pretty sure there was a conspiracy between those two parties.”

            When someone says “I’m pretty sure she was tasked by the Dems, and or the Clintons, to rehabilitate Weinstein to cover for his Dem and media beneficiaries,” I’d say that’s a lot closer to the second than to the first.

            To be clear, one is far more falsifiable than the other. Or, to use your choice of terms, one is really not in the same logical realm as the other.

            • Exactly the kind of stuff I’ve been wading through in this libel suit..

            • charlesgreen wrote, “I’d say that’s a lot closer to the second than to the first.”

              Do you really want to go down this path with me?

              On a scale of 1 to 100 where 1 is “pretty sure” and 10 is “certitude” and you are saying that because you think that it’s closer to certitude by some arbitrary definition of close that it’s equivalent to certitude because it’s close to certitude? Do you realize how ridiculous your certitude claim is? Charles either it IS certitude or it is not certitude?

              You are asserting that his statement was certitude, so now I’m going to ask you very pointedly is there any basis for your certitude that is statement is certitude?

              • Oops, I’m missing an “h” in that comment; the first one to figure out where gets an official attaboy! 🙂

                • charlesgreen

                  You’re missing more than an “h.”

                  Try checking out:
                  “On a scale of 1 to 100, where 1 is pretty sure and 10 is certitude…” [if 10 is certitude, what is 11 – 100?]
                  Or, try spell-checking “is there any basis for your certitude that is statement is certitude?” That’s literally nonsensical.

                  Your comment is typical deflection: I argued with a conspiracy theorist about his claim of belief in something unprovable, and you want to debate dictionary definitions. I’m guessing because you’ve got no content to debate the original point.

                  OK, then, you should have checked your dictionary first. The definition of certitude is “the state of being or feeling certain,” and the example given is “believes with certitude that he is the best candidate for the job.”

                  And I’ll give you a source for that definition:
                  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/certitude

                  You’ll note that it is a psychological state – not a question of logic. So while it is perfectly fine for you, or for me, to ask someone for the factual basis of their psychological state of certitude, it is anything but a logical contradiction. It is nothing more than me challenging him to come up with some basis in real-world fact for his FEELING of certitude.

                  Now, would you care to discuss the original point: the basis for his belief in a conspiracy theory?

                  • ROFL!!!!!! I had a scale of 1 to 10 to start with and thought 1 to 100 was better. Editing error!!

                    Try this “is there any basis for your certitude that his statement is certitude?” Do you like that better?

                    Ah I get it now; my comment pointing out that your nonsense was a deflection but your nonsense comment comparing “pretty sure” to “certitude” that started this was not? Yup, got it Charles. Dude, maybe you should have your daily meds checked, I think someone slipped you something. 😉

                    The definition for certitude I found was “absolute certainty or conviction that something is the case”.

                    I don’t usually don’t “debate” conspiracy theories. They all usually fall into the same kind of nonsense as Chemtrails or Planet X?

                    Done here?

                    • Other Bill

                      Charles, your “prove it!” smacks of “The Clintons would NEVER do such a thing!” Again, it smacks of something right out of their playbook and Lanny Davis is/was involved. I wouldn’t put it past them. Plus, the actress who started the entire thing has stated Allred Junior offered the actresses literary agent six million dollars if she would withdraw her statement and say Weinstein was a good guy. Allred Junior denies it. Sounds Clintonian to me. But maybe the actress is lying. But we have to believe women who make accusations of a sexual nature. And I suppose we have to believe Allred Junior because she’s a woman. What to do.

        • Chris

          Well, bigotry is a basis. Not a great one, but it is a basis.

      • Other Bill,

        I suspect that Bloom took on Weinstein’s defense because he paid her a wad of cash, (cynic that he is) thinking that a feminist icon like Allred’s daughter would lend credibility to his good intentions and good acts toward women. He probably thought that most would say, “Ah this is just a hit job on him by conservatives and Republicans and the whole thing would blow over in a few days.” But, it didn’t work.

        Bloom’s reputation of a women’s crusader for women’s rights took a big hit when actress after actress came out with allegations that he was a monster, and even the CNNs and MSNBCs reported on the story showing Weinstein in the company of powerful Democrats, with long ties to the Democrat party and huge donations over the years (and those are only the ones disclosed – how much was donated to programs and causes where donor lists and amounts are not required?).

        Bloom had to bail on him but she had to do her own damage control. That is reason she is out talking about how awful Weinstein is. She has to repair her image. I will bet she will out there demanding that women accusers should be believed in all respects, that Mattress Girl has been railroaded by Ivy League Ignorance of her claims, and women only make 77% of what men make. Oh, and Trump is a pussy-grabber, so Republicans are worse, too, you know.

        jvb

        • Other Bill

          All true. But I just can’t help thinking the first phone call Harvey made when he got word of what was about to blow up was to none other than William Jefferson Clinton, his friend and fellow harasser and sex scandal escape artist extraordinaire.

          • Other Bill

            Hey, by nature, I’m a story teller. I get a kick out of imagining how these big shot horn dogs really operate. I find it amusing. I find many of my musings more plausible than the spin we get from the complicit, enabling media these days.

            • Other Bill

              And John, I think we can agree these high profile celebrity lawyers are a blight upon the profession. They’re inevitably more concerned about their god damned “brand” than being capable and forthright lawyers. A little humility and a lot less hubris from these people would go a long way.

              • I am on the fence about high profile lawyers – some are quite adept at handling the public relations aspect of the court of public opinion in high-profile cases while others are simply awful, as you note, concerned more about their branding than the legal profession.

                jvb

  3. My opinion is that Lisa Bloom is fully aware that she’s made some really foolish choices, a lineup of them, that could lead others to perceive that the power supply to her ethics alarm bell is in need of servicing and she’s is being perceived, at least temporarily, as a hack. This may not be permanent but she has put a blotch on her own reputation, looks a bit like a black spot.

    It goes without saying that since I am the one writing this, that this is only my opinion and not that of this website.

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