The Corporate Lawyer and ‘The Perjury Trilemma’

This paper represents a thought experiment that takes one of Monroe Freedman’s most fundamental legal ethics ideas and extends it to a current controversy. Professor Freedman’s contributions are many, but none is more significant than his stating—and proposing a solution to—what he has called “the perjury trilemma.” Asserted in the context of criminal defense representation, the trilemma analysis recognizes that: First, in order to give clients the effective assistance of counsel to which they are entitled, lawyers are required to seek out all relevant facts. Second, in order to encourage clients to entrust their lawyers with embarrassing or possibly harmful information, lawyers are under a duty of confidentiality with regard to information obtained in professional relationships. Third, lawyers are expected to be candid with the court.

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