Donald Trump

Marc Kasowitz, Call Your Lawyer

By Paul Rosenzweig
Monday, June 12, 2017, 10:02 AM

Today's New York Times contains this tidbit in an article about Marc Kasowitz and his role in the Trump White House: "In recent days, Mr. Kasowitz has advised White House aides to discuss the inquiry into Russia’s interference in last year’s election as little as possible, two people involved said. He told aides gathered in one meeting who had asked whether it was time to hire private lawyers that it was not yet necessary, according to another person with direct knowledge."

This minor detail seems to confiirm what Benjamin Wittes and Quinta Jurecic have already suggested more broadly—that Kasowitz, a real estate civil litigator from New York, is not familiar with the rules relating to criminal investigations. The operative Rule of Professional Conduct (the lawyer's rules of "ethics"—though ethics is a misnomer here) is Rule 4.3 relating to "Communicating with Unrepresented Persons." Here is the version that is in effect in New York State (where, I assume, Kasowitz has bar membership):

In communicating on behalf of a client with a person who is unrepresentaed by counsel . . . [t]he lawyer shall not give legal advice to an unrepresented person other than the advice to secure counsel if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the interests of such person are or have a reasonable possibility of being in conflict with the interests of the client.

Kasowitz's reported advice to the White House staff to a) not discuss the matter and b) more significantly, that they did not yet need private attorneys of their own was precisely the sort of advice prohibited by the Rule. Perhaps Mr. Kasowitz needs ethics counsel of his own at this juncture.