When Lawyers Sell Their Reputations (And Their Souls)

A lawyer’s reputation has value.  A good reputation serves as a proxy for years of hard work and success in representing clients, particularly in difficult cases.  There is nothing wrong, improper or unethical about a lawyer using his or her hard-earned reputation to attract new clients in a highly competitive market for legal services.

But a lawyer needs to be very careful not to sell his soul when a potential client wants to retain his services, not for his skills and experience, but for his reputation.  This is particularly true when an individual or a business retains a lawyer to conduct an internal investigation and to issue a public report of his findings and conclusions–like the report recently issued by former federal prosecutor Randy Mastro, a partner with the distinguished firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.  The report ostensibly clears New Jersey Governor Chris Christie of any wrongdoing in connection with the George Washington Bridge-closure scandal.

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