Publication Date



The attorney-client relationshipremains one of the most
highly regarded associations in society and is of
indispensable importance for criminal defendants, but it
is not a relationship that lasts forever. The Model Rules of
Professional Conduct (Model Rules) not only allow
breaking this affiliation, but also sometimes demand it.
Yet, in other circumstances, the Model Rules and judicial
custom may force an attorney to proceed with a
representation-even in the face of fundamental
disagreement with the core defense in a criminal case.
Through the avenue of the gay panic defense, this Note
explores how attorneys can become trapped between their
own moral beliefs and professional responsibilities, thus
exposing a larger conflict in professional ethics. How
should an attorney proceed when a case demands a
defensive strategy that the attorney finds reprehensible?
Should counsel set aside personal views, arguing the best
defense for a client no matter how deep his disagreement?
This Note demonstrates that the best interest of a client
may, at times, be best served by allowing the attorney to
withdraw. Therefore, this Note proposes amending the
Model Rules to explicitly allow attorneys to withdraw in
the most extreme moral conflicts-an abort button to be
used sparingly, but swiftly, so that a client's interests can
be best served, even if by another lawyer.