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By: Greg Fayard
In California, lawyers can have consensual sex with their clients as long as it is not based on coercion or in exchange for legal services. That will change this Fall. On May 10, 2018, the California Supreme Court approved comprehensive changes to the lawyer Rules of Professional Conduct—the first major change in 29 years. Under the new rules, California lawyers cannot have consensual sex with their clients—except in one of two situations: 1) the client is the lawyer’s spouse or domestic partner; or 2) a sexual relationship existed prior to the lawyer-client relationship. This means California lawyers can be disciplined by the State Bar for having consensual sex with clients.
The sex ban has been divisive even though at least 17 other states have adopted a similar ban. Supporters of the lawyer-client sex ban argue the relationship between a lawyer and client is inherently unequal, so any sexual relationship is potentially coercive. Others claim the blanket ban is an unjustified invasion of privacy.
The new Rule is 1.8.10 and goes into effect November 1, 2018.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Greg Fayard at [email protected].