The public withdrawal of legal representation in which the departing lawyer, having knowledge of the client's existing or potential improprieties, disavows work done for the client and notifies the proper authorites of the withdrawal.
Over objections from much of the legal profession, the SEC is preparing to approve a new rule this spring requiring attorneys like Emerson to blow the whistle when confronted with wrongdoing, sources close to the commission say.
The two-part rule, likely to be adopted as soon as March or April, would put the burden on corporate directors to disclose to the SEC when a lawyer withdraws because of illicit activity. If the board fails to act, the lawyer would be required to step away from the client and report the wrongdoinga measure known as a "noisy withdrawal."
Greg Burns, "Rule is readied on duties of lawyer," Chicago Tribune, February 1, 2004
SEC regulations have now introduced a couple of new phrases into the US legal lexicon such as "up-the-ladder" reporting where lawyers are required to bypass general counsel if there is no appropriate response to concerns and report directly to the audit committee or the board and "noisy withdrawal" where lawyers are required if necessary to resign with notice to the SEC where there has been a serious breach of securities law.
Jon Robins, "Let me in, I'm a lawyer," The Independent (London, England), May 10, 2004
Permissible whistle-blowing on client fraud was abandoned in favor of noisy withdrawal from the representation; lawyers who do so may notify others only of the fact they are dropping a client or withdrawing an opinion.
Mary Morgan Stuart, "Ethical Dilemma? Dial H-A-Z-A-R-D," The American Lawyer, March, 1987