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Sous couvert d’anonymat, un avocat américain, d’un cabinet international fondé en 1969 à Bangkok, Saigon, Saint-Domingue et à Washington DC spécialiste des relations commerciales avec les pays émergents (Asie, Amérique Latine etc.) a accepté de revenir pour nous sur les conditions d’exercice de sa profession et sa liberté d’expression avec ses clients et les médias.
" What are your deontological rules when it comes to your professional secrecy? What are the limits to these rules?
Each jurisdiction has its own set of the Cannons of Ethics, but most , if not all, are based on the model Cannons of Ethics set out by the American Bar Association. The limits to these rules are set out within the wording of the rules themselves.
In your opinion, is there a real profession of business lawyers? If yes, how do you define it?
Yes. I would define it as representing corporations in the normal course of their business activities. There are, of course, specialties within the general ambit of corporate practice, such as corporate tax and corporate criminal practices. The best corporate lawyers are those who can identify with the business interests of his client and , through his practice, helps the client achieve his corporate goals -- all within the bounds of acceptable ethical practices.
Do you have total freedom with your clients ?
If you mean in whether or not to accept a person -- individual or juridical -- as a client, absolutely. If you mean in dealing with an existing client, no. With an existing client, a lawyer must work to help his client to achieve his goals -- once again, within the bounds of ethical practices.
How do you define the conflict of interest ? How does corruption expresses itself ? Do you think corporate lawyers can practice their profession outside this corruption ?
I define the conflict of interest by taking on a representation that could potentially jeopardize the interests of an existing client. Even if permitted, I would not take on a representation that might make an existing client uncomfortable - which would be more than the rules and regulations would require. Corruption expresses itself by conduct in violation of laws and/or regulations. Yes, of course, corporate lawyers can practise their profession outside this corruption !
How are your relations with the media ? Do you have limits to talk about a case in the media ? Do you have complete freedom of speech or are you bound by professional secrecy?
I don't have any relations with the media and would never talk to the media, unless so requested by my client. I would never ever speak to the media without specific instructions from my client and his approval of the general gist of the content of my media contact -- if not my client's approval of a specific press release. I am specifically and absolutely bound by "professional secrecy" -- your term, not mine. I would call the Cannon of Ethics.
What are your ties with the bar of Columbia and Virginia (district)? Are you accountable to this bar or the state's justice in case of disciplinary measures ?
I am a member of the bars of the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia and must be a member to practice in those jurisdictions. As a member of the bars of those jurisdictions, I am accountable to their disciplinary measures. If an infraction of their rules and regulations is sufficiently egregious, I could be disbarred and lose my ability to practice law. "