MCLE ARTICLE Threats, Extortion and Legitimate Advocacy
By Mark L. Tuft
Mark Tuft is a partner with Cooper, White & Cooper LLP in San Francisco specializing in legal malpractice law and is a co-author of the Rutter Group Practice Guide on Professional Responsibility. MTuft@cwclaw.com.
Recent cases highlight the need for litigators to clearly understand the difference between aggressive advocacy and conduct amounting to extortion and prohibited threats. Clients should be able to hire aggressive lawyers and expect them to pursue available means for achieving the clients’ objectives. Litigators wishing to preserve their right to practice law, on the other hand, need to know the parameters of legitimate advocacy and cannot abide uncertainty when it comes to distinguishing aggressive tactics from impermissible threats and extortion.