Dear Lisa Bloom, You Unethical Hack: Stop Making Me Defend Kathy Griffin!

I had to get this post up before the Morning Ethics Warm-Up, because it warmed ME up by almost exploding my head.

Lisa Bloom, the daughter of feminist muck-raking celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, has already shown the she has either no regard for legal ethics, or is spectacularly ignorant of them. She has publicly breached the duty of loyalty, attacking her former client, Harvey Weinstein; she took on Weinstein in the teeth of a blatant conflict of interest that she also publicized, as if it was something to be proud of. Yesterday, she showed that she is unfamiliar with, or perhaps just doesn’t give a damn about, the core legal ethics principle of confidentiality, perhaps the most important legal ethics duty of all.

Her latest ex-client to be the victim of Bloom’s unprofessional conduct and disloyalty is Kathy Griffin, she of the severed head. Griffin announced that she had fired Bloom, and wasn’t nice about it—but then when is Griffin ever nice?—saying, “Yes, I got Bloomed. Yes, I didn’t have a good experience with her. Yes, I feel that she and her husband exacerbated my personal situation.” Disaffected clients can say anything they choose about their lawyers. They can do it on Yelp, on the lawyer consumer site Avvo,  to the Hollywood Reporter or hire a skywriter. What a client says, mean or not, untrue or not, still  does not alter a lawyer’s continuing ethical obligations one whit. A lawyer cannot get into a public fight with a former client over what did or did not occur during the representation. Every lawyer knows this, or is supposed to.

Yet Bloom—I would say “incredibly” had we not seen other examples of her professional ethics cluelessness—released this statement on Twitter:

[My head told me in a statement that it would have exploded over this but determined that doing so over Kathy Griffin and Lisa  Bloom was demeaning to head-explosions. I concur.]

The fact that Bloom had prepared Griffin’s remarks for the press conference, the fact that they worked on them together, the fact that Griffin discarded them, the fact the performer “ad-libbed” and “extemporized” are all client confidences. For all we knew, Griffin’s claim during the press conference that she was ignoring her notes was part of a pre-planned strategy.  I assumed it was; Griffin is an actress. “It’s best if you show that you are talking from the heart, Kathy,” is advice I would expect Griffin’s lawyer to give. A lawyer cannot tell the public that a client ignored her advice. Only the lawyer and the client know that. Revealing it is to disclose information the lawyer learned during the course of the representation that will harm or embarrass the client, a serious ethics violation and betrayal of trust

California’s legal ethics rules–actually a law—are even more emphatic that lawyers must never do this than the ABA (via Model Rule 1.6) and the other 50 jurisdictions that follow the ABA, which are plenty emphatic themselves. California’s Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) reads in part,

It is the duty of an attorney to do all of the following:

(b) To maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers….

(e) (1) To maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself or herself to preserve the secrets, of his or her client…

(f) To advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which he or she is charged.

Bloom’s statement violates all of these, the first perhaps being the most serious. She harms public trust in all lawyers by causing the public to believe that other lawyers can and will turn on their clients like this. They can’t.

And almost none of them do.

I know I’ve asked this before, but did Lisa Bloom really go to law school? Did her law school—I am happy to see that it was Yale, making me feel a bit better about Harvard’s recent self-debasements—really make her go to class and pass exams, or was she just given a pass as a gift to Gloria for her social justice warrior creds? Has Bloom ever read the ethics rules? Does she know there are ethical requirements of lawyers? I ask this because her statement is so obviously unethical that I don’t see how a trained lawyer with practice experience who ever had to study or be examined regarding legal ethics and professionalism could possibly write such a thing without her legal ethics alarms ringing so loudly that the sound circled the Earth four times, like the eruption of Krakatoa.

Lisa Bloom should not be a lawyer. She is a menace to her clients, an embarrassment to her profession, and a disgrace.

16 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Unethical Tweet

16 responses to “Dear Lisa Bloom, You Unethical Hack: Stop Making Me Defend Kathy Griffin!

  1. Other Bill

    She went to Yale law school? Yikes! This gets back to my concern about elite schools catering to celebrity and otherwise powerful or wealthy parents in their admissions decisions.

  2. Other Bill

    This whole “celebrity lawyer” thing is a problem. I think it dates back to F. Lee Bailey. Lawyers shouldn’t be stars, they should be in the background. I think Mark Geragos is the only celebrity lawyers smart enough and competent enough to still be a good lawyer but also have a lot of visibility. One out of dozens is not a good ratio for the profession.

    • A.M. Golden

      I’ve felt the same way ever since Melvin Belli did that awful episode of “Star Trek” where he played Gorgan, The Friendly Angel.

      • Other Bill

        How about his appearance in that movie about Altamont where he’s in his lavish office with The Stones using a speaker phone (the height of snazzy office accoutrements at the time, of course) to negotiate their appearance, or something, I forget. Why do that on camera? Good for business and the ego, I suppose.

    • Oh, celebrity lawyers go back to Clarence Darrow, a bigger celebrity than any current lawyer.

      • Other Bill

        I figured you’d know who started the whole thing. Bailey was just the first I remember seeing as a kid. The kind of guy who had to park his ego outside when he tried to cram it into a TV studio to do an interview.

  3. Eternal Optometrist

    I don’t get it. I have a simple rule about dealing with the press: I don’t talk to the press. About anything. Ever.

    Why would you talk about a former client like that? You’re supposed to take those discussions to the grave.

    • Other Bill

      But EO, the irony is so rich. Remember the rule about not even telling anyone you represent a client without their prior written permission? These clients hire these lawyers because they want people to know they hired them. And vice versa. What a goat rodeo. The whole set up makes a mockery of applicable ethics rules. Probably the source of the problem is lawyer advertising being permitted, frankly.

  4. “… her statement is so obviously unethical that I don’t see how a trained lawyer with practice experience who ever had to study or be examined regarding legal ethics and professionalism could possibly write such a thing without her legal ethics alarms ringing….”

    I’ve tried to reverse-engineer it, and all I could up with was something like there was an explicit agreement that Bloom was working as public relations and not as counsel. Then I went back to the original Griffin press conference and saw that Bloom introduced herself as counsel. It seems inexplicable. Every lawyer in California is expected to report this, right?

  5. Isaac

    She could be the greatest lawyer in the world and she still can’t make it sound credible that Kathy Griffin is a funny comedian. And then there’s this: “I got a lot of rape and death threats…” No you didn’t. What you got were mean tweets.

    The “I totally have lots of rape and death threats but no I’m not going to show them to anyone or get the police involved or anything” canard is something that wannabe internet-celebs employ out of desperate craving for fame and/or attention of any type. A professional wouldn’t/shouldn’t do it, especially since the lawyer community is probably pretty well aware of what a credible threat really looks like.

  6. Want an explanation which may just provide that head explosion?
    I know Rule 1.6 Confidentiality of Information.

    The reason Lisa Bloom could say those things which on the surface seem completely inappropriate and obvious violations of the @Abaesq Model Rules of Professional Conduct is because NONE OF WHAT SHE SAYS IS TRUE.

    If she is making it up, she is NOT violating any confidences.
    If she is making it up, she is NOT sharing any secret information.
    If she is making it up for the press, she is not telling the court any lies.
    Rule 1.6 is not being violated.

    The ‘duty of loyalty’ suggestion made me laugh. You know…You kind of made that one up.

    Rule 1.6 appears throughout the Model Rules by cross reference. All the high-fallootin statements mean nothing by themselves. Because, by cross reference, it all comes down to the following: it boils down to the following:

    Rule 1.6 mandates silence where information could
    1) adversely affect the integrity of the court
    2) adversely affect the integrity and reputation of the firm
    3) adversely affect the reputation of the Lawyer
    4) adversely affect the client.

    Rule 1.6 Confidentiality of Information is much broader than attorney client privilege.
    Where that confidentiality is mandated of ALL lawyers, it can prevent the exposure of a failure to abide the rule of law, it can ignore constitutional rights, It allows the lawyers in the clerks offices to dismiss cases via Per Curiam orders. (No signature, No judge, no explanation, no accountability… NO RECOURSE. Confidential pursuant to Rule 1.6.)
    When Confidentiality denies protection of the Rule of Law, and ignores constitutionally protected rights, and prevents access to the courts… THATS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
    But, improperly enacted and unconstitutional in EVERY STATE, the lawyers cannot “adversely affect the integrity of the judiciary” by revealing that each state supreme court has have enacted an unconstitutional law.

    Each state disciplinary board exists under the state Supreme Court. They are Lawyers who must follow the same confidentiality rule, and they discipline anyone who attempts to reveal it.

    The American Bar Association presented their Model Rules to each state beginning in 1983 (New Jersey) through 2009 (Maine). The ABA membership profits from injustice.

    The Constitutional Crisis in America is real. But, the problem with fixing an unconstitutional confidentiality is that it is CONFIDENTIAL.

    Examples: Black Lives Matter, Kids for Cash, Sandusky at Penn State. the Mortgage foreclosure crisis, human trafficking through foster care, …
    It would even allow a predator network being run from the state attorney general’s office to go unprosecuted.

    • [WARNING: “Terance” has no idea what he’s blathering about. He might be 10. He might be a cocker spaniel. He might be a troll. he might even live under a bridge. Do not take any of this irresponsible and ignorant comment as anything but the rantings of someone who has read too many alt-stupid blog posts]

      Dear Terance: Wow. That was the most fanciful and ignorant misrepresentation of the Rules of Professional Conduct I have ever seen, heard or could have imagined after a two night bender, as told to me by pink elephants.

      If she is making it up, you dunce, then she is vilating Rule 8.4, Misconduct, which forbids dishonesty and misrepresentation. Dishonesty and misrepresentation about a client is WORSE than revealing a confidence.

      Your comment is gibberish. If you are a lawyer, they should burn down the aw school, and sow the land with salt. There are so many false or confused assertions in your post that I stopped counting after I hit double figures.

      For example: The duty of Confidentiality has nothing to do with the Constitution. Zip.

      Don’t write back, because whatever you write will just be sent express to spam. I have enough trouble keeping up with well-informed comments; I don’t have time to correct misinformation. See, I teach the rules for a living, to lawyers, you boob. If I ever start teaching junior high, maybe you can catch one of my seminars.

      Bye.

      • Jack Marshall…

        You lead with insults and name-calling. Yet, you have neglected to indicate any flaw to my logic. Yes. I noticed that. Others noticed also.

        It’s adorable and incredibly naive of you to believe lawyers are incapable of DISHONESTY AND MISREPRESENTATION.

        This is what happened:

        Let me inform you about the Kutek Commission and the Model Rules. Specifically, the ABA assembled their delegates and REMOVED THE FRAUD PROVISIONS FROM RULE 1.6. Those provisions ‘fraud in the furtherance’ and ‘fraud to prevent rectification/resolution” were removed from Rule 1.6. The result was that CONFIDENTIALITY could NOT be breached to prevent future frauds, or to rectify the wrongdoing of their clients.

        KUTEK WAS NOT PLEASED. HE LOBBIED LOUDLY AND STRONGLY AGAINST IT AND THE PROBLEMS WHICH WOULD BE CAUSED and concealed by CONFIDENTIALITY.

        But, Kutek died suddenly. The ABA delegates voted. The provisions were out!

        The ABA removed the provisions and spread their Model Rules around the US gradually. 1983 New Jersey through to 2009 Maine.

        Now lets think about injustices which are clearly plaguing the United States. The lawyers at those podiums telling people that the law has been followed are neglecting to indicate the one law which has undermined all others. Confidentiality.

        Kids for Cash
        The Sandusky /Penn State Molestations
        The Foreclosure Crisis based on fraudulent and robo-signed documents.
        Black Lives Matter

        Rule 1.6 Confidentiality is SO POWERFUL, that a child predator ring could be running out of the Office of the state Attorney General with the Attorney General unable to prosecute the crime.

        The AG represents the ‘the office’, the office staff, and various other departments of state government. Attorney Client Privilege applies.

        The AG cant prosecute the crime. BUT, the AG can fire the ringleaders. When the terminated employees leverage the CONFIDENTIALITY and challenge their termination in Federal Courts, they need not indicate their extracurricular activities. The Attorney General remains unable to breach the confidentiality until defending themselves in Court. The Federal Courts dismiss the lawsuits before that opportunity arises.

        Meanwhile, the AG is arresting predators at a rate of one every other day. This continues for three years. It is like they are reading the names directly from an existing list on a former employees computer.

        The informed Attorney General knows what happened to The Constitutional Challenge of Rule 1.6. The informed Attorney General orders a review of ALL OAG EMAIL – the media reported porn as the issue. But, the issue was corruption and injustice and denial of rights, law and access to the courts.

        Then, without evidence, without any verifiable facts. A local DA accuses the AG of perjury, sets a perjury trap, and removes the AG. The perjury conviction is on Appeal.

        So… review what I have provided.
        The AG is Kathleen Kane of Pennsylvania
        The Constitutional Challenge was served nationwide to each state Attorney General. They all defaulted.
        That email report was performed by Doug Gansler of Maryland – Its release was prevented by the new management in the OAG.
        And Kathleen Kane couldn’t prosecute the predators, but she could fire them. AND SHE DID.

        And when you think about the Judges of the Third Circuit who were prevented from the matter by the lawyers in the clerks office… imagine if you were running for president and your sister confirmed how the Constitution was undermined by the ABA… and the efforts of the ABA to prevent exposure was massive… including lawyers in every branch of state and federal government mandated to fraud in the furtherance top prevent the issues from adversely affecting the judiciary.

        And when they realized the Federal Government might be able to expose the issue, The McDade Murtha Act which couldn’t pass Congress was reduced to a few sentences and concealed in an appropriations Bill. THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE WALKED OUT OF CONGRESS REFUSING TO CALL THE VOTE. (A non-lawyer named Gingrich.) McDade Murtha requires federal lawyers to abide the Rules in the jurisdiction where they are working. And Rule 1.6 is in every jurisdiction.

        Would you like to know more, or are you satisfied with what you have been served?

        Lawyers went from respectable and esteemed as on televisions THE PAPER CHASE to buffoonery and contorted misrepresentations of law and fact as presented on LA LAW and BOSTON LEGAL.

        SO JACK MARSHALL…. WANNA TRY AGAIN? Or concede that all those CLE classes taught you to look the other way and ignore injustice. The ABA made its membership a considerable amount of billable hours. Only lawyers profit from injustice.

        Justice is coming.

  7. It is worth noting that the Judge who contacted the FBI regaridng KIDS FOR CASH was Judge Ann Lokuta. She was disciplined and removed from the bench for adversely affecting the integrity of the judiciary.

    Those judges preyed upon school children putting them in jail, denying them their rights, while getting kickbacks from the private company handling the prisons. Thousands of children and families were affected. The county bar was silent. The PA Supreme Court ignored multiple opportunities to address the issue. But, they wouldn’t violate their own improperly enacted and unconstitutional law.

    The problem with unconstitutional Confidentiality is that it is CONFIDENTIAL…. and the lawyers face discipline for actions.

    The ABA undermined the US Constitution…. and have concealed their treason for decades.

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