The State Bar of California has approved a new ethics rule that would subject lawyers to discipline for having sex with their clients.
The bar's board of trustees adopted the rule Thursday as part of a long-awaited overhaul of attorney conduct standards.
California currently bars attorneys from coercing a client into sex or demanding sex in exchange for legal representation. The new rule completely bans sex between lawyers and clients with some exceptions. More than a dozen other states have a similar blanket sex ban.
Supporters of the rule said the relationship between a lawyer and client is inherently unequal, so any sexual relationship is potentially coercive. But some attorneys said it was an unjustified invasion of privacy.