The prohibition against aiding clients in carrying out crimes and frauds has been in the news lately, in connection with the quandary that lawyers find themselves in when attempting to help clients in the marijuana industry — whose conduct may be legal under state law, while remaining illegal under federal law. (We’ve blogged about it previously, here and here. ) In this environment, it is useful to consider just what constitutes assisting a client’s crime or fraud, as the Ohio Supreme Court did last week in disbarring a lawyer who helped a divorce client hide assets from her spouse.
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The smoke might eventually clear for Ohio lawyers who hope to help clients engage in the medical marijuana industry after it becomes legal in the state on September 8. On August 17, the state supreme court said that it had “directed its staff to prepare a draft amendment to the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct that would clarify the services attorneys can offer clients seeking to comply with the state’s new medical marijuana law.” The announcement follows the ruling 12 days earlier by the Board of Professional Conduct that Ohio lawyers can’t provide any legal services to help clients in connection with a medical marijuana enterprise.
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