LEO: Withdrawal from Employment  LE Op. 435


Withdrawal from Employment.


November 3, 1981


An attorney agreed to represent a prisoner in a habeas corpus petition

which the prisoner had file pro se. The attorney's representation was pro

bono publico. After undertaking representation and noting appearance in

court, the attorney formed the opinion that the claim was without merit

and explained to his client the reasons for his conclusion. The attorney

advised the client that he desired to withdraw, and the client agreed.

Thereupon, the attorney sought permission from the court to withdraw, but

did not advise the court of his reason for seeking withdrawal. The court

would not permit withdrawal without an explanation. It was the Legal

Ethics Committee's opinion that the attorney could not withdraw from

representing the client because to do so would require the attorney to

advise the court that, in his view, the petitioner's claim was meritless.

Such a representation would foreseeably prejudice the rights of the

attorney's client to a fair and impartial trial on the merits.


[See II: DR:2-107(A)(2); DR:2-108(A)(1); (B)(2) & (4), & (C); DR:4-

101(C)(2); DR:7-101(A)(3) & (B)(2); DR:7-102(A)(2); DR:7-105(C)(4).]


Committee Opinion November 3, 1981