St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

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St. Mary's University School of Law


Charles Ipock

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Advocacy is the primary goal and responsibility of two distinct and well-regulated professions: the lawyer and the lobbyist, each of whom is subject to his own set of rules and regulations. This Article is designed to analyze the intersection of the lawyer’s Disciplinary Code with developing, rules governing advocacy in the policy-making arenas throughout Texas. Increasingly, the line between legal and legislative advocacy has become blurred as more local Texas entities turn to state lobby regulations for inspiration. This Article will consider the state Lobby Law, including its history and structure, as a framework for subsequent efforts to regulate lobbying and will identify the common elements of lobby regulation systems, with a particular focus on their treatment of attorneys. It will also analyze how, at every level in Texas, the rules of engagement regarding communication and advocacy are being imposed with varying and significant consequences for attorneys, with a particular emphasis on how local governmental entities are literally rewriting those rules of engagement. Finally, this Article will analyze the potential consequences for all who advocate before governmental entities and attempt to influence public servants, including criminal and ethical issues, with a particular focus on attorneys engaged in lobbying. As local lobby regulations become more common, attorneys dealing with local governments will be forced to examine the fundamental aspects of the legal practice, including the structure of the representation, the nature of advocacy and communication, and the meaning of confidentiality.