A hacker group Impact Team recently released a massive amount of personal information about Ashley Madison subscribers. The email addresses listed include those of some high-profile lawyers and judges. Phoenix lawyer and humorist Sean Carter explains the implications of these disclosures.
Carter suggests that there will be very little fallout from disclosing the fact that some lawyers and judges signed up for an infidelity website. Carter quotes Stalin, explaining that “The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.” When there are 37 million people cheating, says Carter, it’s not an issue.
Having a profile on the Ashley Madison site won’t be problem, says Carter. “Who is going to be judgmental about it?” Like walking into a strip club and meeting your neighbor; neither of you is going to tattle about it. Carter doesn’t think the Ashley Madison fallout will damage the reputation of the lawyers whose names appear.
As to whether lawyers would lose jobs over this, Carter asks rhetorically, “Who’s going to fire them?” Carter points out that America is a nation where marriage failure and divorce are common facts of life. Carter suggests that no one in law firm management will want to make public disclosure of marital infidelity a ground for discharge. And a lawyer who finds out that a client has an Ashley Madison profile probably has job security.
As to any concerns about ethical problems, Carter refers to ABA Model Rule 8.4 that prohibits dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. However, Carter notes, Comment  to Rule 8.4 contains a “carve out” for adultery. “The key to any good marriage,” he says, “is at least a small amount of lying.” Little lies are the linchpin that holds a good marriage together, says Carter. The ABA rule understands people and marriage, Carter opines, and allows a certain amount of leeway in the conduct of lawyers in a marriage.
As to consequences of the Ashley Madison disclosures, Carter suggests that “if you owned stock in Google, it was a good day for you yesterday” because 37 million people opened new Gmail accounts. [Note: Mr. Carter’s commentary on the Ashley Madison story contains a lot of humor to go with the facts.]
Sean Carter, Humorist at Law, is a Harvard law graduate who now applies his skills to humorous speeches to lawyers (and others). Mr. Carter draws on his unique background as a former securities lawyer, corporate vice president and stand-up comedian to create educational programs that are not only laugh out loud funny, but also, relevant to business and legal professionals. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.