Ethics for fixers

Samuel Damren

Once an occupation reaches a certain maturity, it behooves its members to memorialize a Code of Ethics. Exactly when an occupation achieves this stage is debatable.  One touchstone of maturity is when an occupation is defined in dictionaries.

The Free Dictionary defines “Fixer” as “A person who uses influence or makes arrangements for another, especially by improper or unlawful means.”  As far as I know, no trade organization has yet to propose a Code of Ethics for Fixers. The following is offered as a modest first draft, albeit from a non-member.

CLIENT – FIXER RELATIONSHIP.  The client believes that the “end justifies the means.” The client would never engage a Fixer otherwise.

DILIGENCE. A Fixer shall do whatever must be done to achieve the “end” sought by the client.

However, a Fixer is not a thug. A Fixer may engage other professionals, as appropriate, to assist the Fixer in providing Fixer services and advice.

DUTIES TO FORMER CLIENTS.  None.  A Fixer is either on the payroll or not.  If not, the client proceeds at his or her own risk. The client should be advised of the risks attendant to taking the Fixer off the payroll. A “hint” will suffice.

ADVOCATE.  A Fixer does not seek the truth. A Fixer annihilates truth for long enough for the client to get past the “hump.”

LYING. Lying is a Fixer’s first line of attack.

TELLING THE TRUTH. Telling the truth is a Fixer’s last line of defense.  A Fixer has very little credibility. But a Fixer’s client has even less. The client’s decision to engage a Fixer undercuts any semblance of integrity in the make-up of the client. That being said, best practices dictates that the Fixer tape conversations with the client from time to time.


Samuel Damren is a retired Detroit lawyer and a periodic contributor to The Legal News.