Prohibiting lawyer-client sex.
T. Gutheil, L. Jorgenson and P. Sutherland,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law
20(4): 365-82, 1992.
Psychotherapists' and physicians' sexual contact with their patients has been long held as unethical
conduct. However, lawyers' sexual contact with clients has been largely ignored in the professional
literature. This article uniquely anatomizes the similarities in the vulnerabilities and power
imbalances that exist between psychotherapists' and lawyers' relationships with patients/clients.
These characteristics enable the professional to exert undue influence over the less-powerful party,
and for these reasons lawyers should be held to fiduciary standards in their personal dealings with
clients. The authors propose a rebuttable presumption that sexual contact between an attorney and
client was obtained through the attorney's exercise of undue influence and was therefore a breach of
the attorney's fiduciary duties to the client.