If their clients admit to having suicidal feelings or show evidence of serious psychological problems, how do lawyers’ legal responsibilities to their clients change in different circumstances? Attorney and former legal librarian Ken Strutin provides a collection of summaries and links to ethics opinions, legal decisions, law reviews, bibliographies and other resources that explore various kinds of situations like these under US law.
“Imagine representing Socrates and then learning that he was planning to take hemlock, what should counsel have done?” asks Strutin. “It is a question that would have perplexed the wisest of his time and ours. Add twenty-four centuries and the issues are all the more complicated.”
These complications, he writes, “cross a range of legal, moral and medical contexts: professional responsibility, client confidentiality, effective assistance of counsel, legal malpractice, criminal liability, and end of life issues.”
Clients and Suicide: The Lawyer’s Dilemma (LLRX.com, October 11, 2014)