Moral philosopher Sissela Bok defines a lie as "any intentionally deceptive message which is stated." She defines deception more broadly, as encompassing "messages meant to mislead [others] ... through gesture, through disguise, by means of action or inaction, even through silence." This broader category of deception is the subject of study here. This Article will examine overt misstatements and deliberate omissions or failures to disclose information. The determining factor in identifying deception is the lawyer's intent. If the lawyer intends to deceive a client, he or she may accomplish this by telling a lie or by withholding information. Deception by omission and by commission are morally identical: the purpose and the consequences are the same.
Lisa G. Lerman, Lying to Clients, 138 U. PA. L. REV. 659 (1990).