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Ethics question: The media is hammering at the office door, wanting a statement about my (in)famous client. My client is very keen for me to oblige. Do I channel Barbie, Oppenheimer or Dennis Denuto?

Option A (Barbie) – If our only thought is whether we look good in pink, then it is probably time for an ethics refresher. We are here to serve the administration of justice and our clients, not ourselves. How might making a statement affect a court’s processes? What confidentiality obligations might we inadvertently breach? How detached can we remain from our client’s affairs if we are starring in them? Pink may suit our complexion but not necessarily our professional obligations.

Option B (Oppenheimer) – Launching a weapon of mass destruction is ethically fraught. Can a statement from us hit the client’s target without causing collateral damage to the administration of justice? If we use the media as an appeal court rather than the real courts, if we publicly humiliate our opposing fellow solicitor, how might that undermine and harm the administration of justice in our society? Yes, this is a fairly esoteric consideration, but it is the point of our profession; that we do uphold the administration of justice because that is what is in our society’s best interests.

Option C (The Castle) – Dennis brings us back to earth with a bump. As solicitors, we have so many skills – research skills, analytical skills, ethical skills, communication skills, comprehension skills etc etc. However, we probably don’t have well-honed sound-bite skills. It is prudent for us to avoid bumbles and fumbles if we can, to not fully emulate Dennis.

Some solicitors can and do navigate media interactions with great skill, ethics, and dignity. For the rest of us, if you can’t convince your client with these arguments, then ask them for fair and reasonable movie star rates and see how that goes …