First Reported Disciplinary Action for Sexual Relations with a Client Under Pa. R.P.C. 1.8(j)

/ 01.Aug, 2013

Bucks County attorney, David H. Knight, admitted he accepted oral sex from a client in lieu of a $1,000 fee.  Knight has been suspended from the practice of law for one year on consent (the Disciplinary Board also noted there was no written fee agreement in violation of Pa. R.P.C. 1.5(b)).    Effective January 1, 2005, Pa. R.P.C. 1.8(j) states a lawyer shall not have sexual relations with a client unless a consensual relationship existed between them when the client-lawyer relationship commenced.  According to the disciplinary report, there are no other reported cases in Pennsylvania involving a violation of Pa. R.P.C. 1.8(j).  This appears to be the first published case in Pennsylvania involving discipline of an attorney for consensual sexual relations with a client.

The simple takeaway from this case is that unless you have a consensual relationship predating representation, do not become involved in a sexual relationship with a client.

Josh J.T. Byrne, Esquire