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Sometimes Lawyers Seem to Forget . . . .


— July 30, 2007

Sometimes lawyers seem to forget that, in their professional capacities, they owe a duty of loyalty to their clients – even when they no longer like them. And when a lawyer becomes convinced his client is on the wrong side of a particular legal dispute, the lawyer generally has the option of staying out of that dispute. He does not, however, have the option of switching sides and suing a client on behalf of a third party, alleging that the very settlement he obtained for the client in prior litigation actually belongs to the third party. And when the client objects to such an attempt, and sues the lawyer for breach of his professional obligations, the lawyer probably shouldn’t cross-complain back against her, apparently outraged that she has dragged him into the controversy and caused him to expend money to defend himself.

That’s the introductory paragraph from PHILIPSON & SIMON v. GULSVIG (Cal. Ct. App., 4th App. Dist. Div. 3, Jul. 30, 2007) No. G037335 (Bedsworth, J.).


Sometimes lawyers seem to forget that, in their professional capacities, they owe a duty of loyalty to their clients – even when they no longer like them. And when a lawyer becomes convinced his client is on the wrong side of a particular legal dispute, the lawyer generally has the option of staying out of that dispute. He does not, however, have the option of switching sides and suing a client on behalf of a third party, alleging that the very settlement he obtained for the client in prior litigation actually belongs to the third party. And when the client objects to such an attempt, and sues the lawyer for breach of his professional obligations, the lawyer probably shouldn’t cross-complain back against her, apparently outraged that she has dragged him into the controversy and caused him to expend money to defend himself.

That’s the introductory paragraph from PHILIPSON & SIMON v. GULSVIG (Cal. Ct. App., 4th App. Dist. Div. 3, Jul. 30, 2007) No. G037335 (Bedsworth, J.).

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