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July 12, 2010

Lindsay Lohan's latest struggle: finding a lawyer willing to take on her criminal case

This post from TalkLeft altered me to this fascinating new report from People Magazine headlined "Lawyer: Lindsay Lohan Just Doesn't Get It." Here are excerpts:

A 90-day jail sentence should be a wake-up call for Lindsay Lohan but she still isn't fully aware of her dire situation, according to a lawyer who sat down with the actress over the weekend.

"My impression of Lindsay is that she's a fragile lost child – a sleeping beauty with her head in the sand. I found her not fully forewarned of the consequence of her actions," Stuart V. Goldberg, who was contacted by Lohan after her attorney resigned, tells PEOPLE.

"I'm concerned that she's not disciplined or tethered enough to the reality of adult consequences," he says. "She doesn't seem to have the awareness of what's going to befall her."

Goldberg, a criminal defense attorney based in Chicago, says he met with Lohan, her mom Dina and younger sister Ali at the actress's West Hollywood apartment and outlined his requirements for representing her – "100 percent loyalty and zero tolerance for dishonesty" – but "they didn't seem to understand the urgency and gravity of the situation."  He ultimately declined to take on the case.

During their six-hour long "heart to heart conversation," Lohan, 24, took notes like she did in court, writing in the triangular corner of a piece of paper, while Ali asked him "astute" questions....

And though he advised Lohan to move out of Los Angeles, which he described as a "toxic environment for her," the actress didn't seem open to the idea. "She was like Teflon to that comment," he says. "It just slid right off her. She seemed to have some inner deep sadness that that was her fate."

"My real worry for her is not just the jail time," adds Goldberg, "but my fear is that she's overly susceptible to a probation system that's set up for her to fail."

I suspect that more that a few readers of this blog are familiar with less-than-ideal meetings with potential clients.  I would be interested to hear reactions to Stuart Goldberg's (astute?) decision to decline taking Lohan as a client, and well as to Goldberg's suggestion that Lohan is now to be subject to a "probation system that's set up for her to fail."

July 12, 2010 at 07:58 PM | Permalink

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"My real worry for her is not just the jail time," adds Goldberg, "but my fear is that she's overly susceptible to a probation system that's set up for her to fail."

Methinks it's Mr. Goldberg who's detached from reality. His "real worry" should be that she'll continue tooling around town drunk and stoned and eventually kill someone and/or herself.

To the extent the probation system is the supposed problem, the real issue is that ANY probation system would insist that she change her bratty and dangerous behavior, the very thing she refuses to do.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 13, 2010 12:30:52 AM

true she is divorced from reeality and has had her own way far far too long. but he did in fact tell the truth when he announced that the "probation system is setup to fail!" PERIOD.

Posted by: rodsmith | Jul 13, 2010 1:19:35 AM

what we have now isnt' even close to REAL probation what we have is PAROLE called probation. back in the real united states once you completed your court ordered sentenced you left prison! you were done. but you were still on probation screw up and violate the same laws EVERYONE else had to follow and they could lock you up quick! BUT this idioticy of monthy probation meetings and all the extra rules and regualtsions didnt' exist! those were for those on PAROLE!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jul 13, 2010 1:21:46 AM

I could not find the name of the lawyer in a search of the California Bar here:

http://members.calbar.ca.gov/search/member.aspx

I understand representation was declined, but

1) did an attorney client relationship exist during the long conversation about the case specific facts and legal tactics?

2) was he admitted pro hac vice to practice in California, and was a licensed California lawyer supervising him at the time of the interview?

3) does he have consent from Lohan to discuss her statements with People magazine? Or, is he trying to prevent her committing a crime?

These are not rhetorical questions. I do not know the answers.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 13, 2010 6:27:10 AM

I cannot believe I find myself believing that Supremacy Claus has actually made some sense in relation to this statement: "3) does he have consent from Lohan to discuss her statements with People magazine? Or, is he trying to prevent her committing a crime?"
Why is this attorney disclosing his statements to the client and the client's reaction? Does this violate his ethical obligations? Does he have a greater interest in appearing in People Magazine, rather than representing his potential client? Should he have even mentioned he met with her?

Posted by: Tim Holloway | Jul 13, 2010 8:24:28 AM

It sounds to me that if Lindsay Lohan “just doesn’t get it,” 90 days in the slammer is exactly what she needs. And if that doesn’t work, ratchet things up higher and higher.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Jul 13, 2010 9:32:45 AM

Supremacy Claus and I are not the only ones who question whether this attorney met his ethical obligations. http://www.courtroomstrategy.com/
Also, look at the guy's website. http://www.stuartvgoldberg.com/site.html

Posted by: Tim Holloway | Jul 13, 2010 9:57:07 AM

How dare you, Marc...suggesting that an unapologetic, multiple DUI offender be given a 90 day sentence, and then to suggest that if she gets a third DUI, she should be given more! ;)

I really do have similar fears along Bill's lines--repeat DUIs are a serious matter, especially when the offender seems to have no concept that 1) it's illegal, or 2) it's dangerous. Far from it, LL actually believes she got railroaded by a system far more generous to her than if her name were Lindsay Smith.

I've been accused of wanting to "break" poor LL's spirit, but at a certain point, someone needs to give this girl a reality check. If she is unable to intrinsically grasp the problems with her behavior, then the only way to get the message across is the same way that one would convey a message to a little kid incapable of understanding the reason behind a prohibition--stern (some would say draconian) punishment.

Posted by: Res ipsa | Jul 13, 2010 10:27:55 AM

While I certainly condemn this guy for opening his mouth, whether or not the attorney/client relationship existed is irrelevant. There was a third (and fourth) party to the conversation, so there is no privilege.

Posted by: NYC Lawyer | Jul 13, 2010 11:16:56 AM

Did the attorney advise Lohan that the presence of the third party would undermine if not destroy the privilege? Regardless of the privilege, the attorney has a duty to keep the confidences of theclient and not denigrate client in any way. I'm ashamed of this attorney's behavior unless there's a tactical explanation to which the client knowingly agreed.

Posted by: Michael R. Levine | Jul 13, 2010 11:32:45 AM

Yes, even if there was no privilege, there could still be a "secret" at issue that the lawyer should not disclose except with consent of the client or under other limited circumstances, at least under my state's ethics rules. Mich. Rule P.C. 1.6. Also, again -- at least my state, the presence of a third party who has some type of relationship with the potential client MAY be deemed part of the legal team for purposes of privileges. Grubbs v. K Mart Corp., 411 NW 2d 477 (Mich. 1997). At the very least, the attorney should have warned that the communications could be compromised by the presence of a third party. Could there be an ineffective assistance of counsel issue if this every comes back to haunt her? See Adams v. Carlson, 488 F.2d 619, 630-31 (7th Cir. 1973) (confidentiality in the attorney-client relationship involves the Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel).

Posted by: Tim Holloway | Jul 13, 2010 11:50:53 AM

As celebrity lawyers go, Lindsay's former lawyer, Shawn Holley, is pretty accomplished:
http://www.kwikalaw.com/sholley

I recognize that Holley dumped Lindsay and not vice versa. Still, I think it's perhaps telling of the extent of Lindsay's denial if she thinks there's some other lawyer out there who could do anything more for her than Holley was able to.

I am also confused as to why Lindsay's mother, but especially her younger sister would have needed to be present at an attorney-client meeting.

/can't believe I'm commenting on a Lindsay Lohan thread

Posted by: Sara Mayeux | Jul 13, 2010 1:13:22 PM

Also, thanks for the link to Stuart Goldberg's website. It reminds me of nothing so much as Saul Goodman on "Breaking Bad." "Attorney Stuart F. Goldberg believes that there is a secret garden in the heart of every accused criminal...." (For a kick, the faux Saul Goodman website is at: http://www.bettercallsaul.com/

Posted by: Sara Mayeux | Jul 13, 2010 1:18:53 PM

whether or not he can claim privilege if called to testify, etc., is a legal issue and completely separate from the ethical issue of whether he can break client confidentiality (which clearly applies to consultations with potential clients). as stated above, barring the unlikely situation that this is a tactical move approved by the client, the answer is simple: he can't.

i hope some illinois lawyer has referred this for discipline.

Posted by: observer | Jul 13, 2010 3:05:28 PM

observer: "as stated above, barring the unlikely situation that this is a tactical move approved by the client"

me: tactical for the case, which i can't imagine? or tactical to help lohan's career? maybe, you know what they say about publicity.

while going to jail or rehab might be a crisis for a normal person, for her it just sets up the inevtiable triumphant return to the talk shows and the weeklies.

yes, the famous are different from you ;)

ginny :)

Posted by: virginia | Jul 14, 2010 9:17:10 PM

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