I wonder if something is askew. My client's business plan seems too good to be true. My clients employees leave me uncomfortable. I am just not sure everything is on the up and up. Yet it is nothing I can put my finger on. And the fellow is paying my bills promptly and they have been marching steadily upward as my client's mini-empire begins to expand. Now I'm doing estate planning. Someone mentioned an IPO. And I am flattered by the idea that I might go on the client's board.
This is a time to pause. We all want to provide top-notch, enthusiastic service for an ever-growing list of expanding enterprises. We all want to be cheerleaders for our client's endeavor. And pausing seems so disloyal and counterproductive. But pause we must and act just a little bit like the accountants, not by compromising our loyalty or undertaking duties to the public, but by adopting an attitude of healthy skepticism. Maybe everything is totally legitimate. Maybe your client is the next Microsoft. And, even if not, there may be nothing of concern. The plea here is simply not to get caught up in the wave of enthusiasm without stepping back and placing your own work for this client in a larger context so that you do not find yourself a participant (and some may say later an aider and abettor) in a fraudulent scheme. The simple process of sharing with another lawyer what you know and why you feel uneasy could serve as a great reality check.