Ethical Issues in the Pelican Brief

1372 WordsNov 15, 20126 Pages
In the hit book, The Pelican Brief, John Grisham's depiction of lawyers who will do anything for money and their clients presents an interesting ethical dilemma. In the book, two Supreme Court justices are killed by a hired assassin, Khamel. FBI, CIA, and the press are working hard to find who the killer is. The only people who know the truth are attorneys from White and Blazevich, Nathaniel Jones (also known as Einstein), Jarreld Schwabe, Marty Velmano, and F. Sims Wakefield and their client, Victor Mattiece. The action commences when Darby Shaw writes a brief about who she thinks is responsible for the deaths of two Supreme Court Justices, Rosenberg and Jensen. She shows the document to Thomas Callahan, her professor and lover. He…show more content…
Collecting the fee up front is certainly consistent with the practices of many practical and ethical lawyers. Unless there is a written fee agreement, and there is certainly no evidence to support the existence of one in the book, funds paid by a client at the beginning of the representation are presumed to be an advance fee payment. Advance fees, of course, must be deposited into a trust account, and withdrawn only when earned. Retainers aren’t usually “…ten percent of the net profits from the wells,” and real lawyers must know the requirement (Grisham 339). One of the solutions to this ethical dilemma could be to sign a retainer. If White and Blazevich attorneys want money, why wait? Let Mattiece sign a retainer, pay them, and wait for Court’s decision. Nathaniel Jones (also known as Einstein), Jarreld Schwabe, Marty Velmano, and F. Sims Wakefield are all relying on being paid for their services after the decision on the case. They could save a lot of money and avoid jail if they would follow standard Model Rules. Just because F. Sims Wakefield “…was very close to Victor Mattiece and often visited him in the Bahamas,” it is not an exception to conflict-of-interest situations. Even if Victor Mattiece is a friend of F. Sims Wakefield, he should pay for services rendered, or the attorney could
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