The Lawyer's Obligation Where a Client Lies in Response to Discovery Requests
A lawyer in a civil case who discovers that her client has lied in responding to discovery requests must take all reasonable steps to rectify the fraud, which may include disclosure to the court. In this context, the normal duty of confidentiality in Rule 1.6 is explicitly superseded by the obligation of candor toward the tribunal in Rule 3.3. The lawyer must first attempt to persuade the client to rectify the situation or, if that proves impossible, must herself take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that a fraud is not perpetrated on the tribunal. In some cases this may be accomplished by a withdrawal from the representation; in others it may be enough to disaffirm the work product; still others may require disclosure to opposing counsel; finally, if all else fails, direct disclosure to the court may prove to be the only effective remedial measure for client fraud most likely to be encountered in pretrial proceedings.
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