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Is the client a longstanding one who has always acted properly in the past? These are questions he will probably be asked by the judge or regulator if things go wrong and to which he will need convincing answers.There are some ways in which the lawyer can give himself some protection in agreeing to such a request but they are not foolproof."Assertions by plaintiffs who are suing us do not change these conclusions," United Health said in a statement to the Star Tribune. Hemsley has been credited with an extraordinary job of leading United Health in the last 18 months to one of the best corporate governance records in the country." The description of Hemsley's purported role in the backdating process is contained in a motion by Cal PERS and other shareholders opposing United Health's attempt to get their lawsuit dismissed.United Health asserts that shareholders did not suffer losses as a result of the stock option revelations.Unfortunately, there is no simple or straight forward answer to this and it comes down to how comfortable the lawyer will be defending his position in agreeing to backdate the document if his judgment was wrong and the authorities challenge the document, possibly in a criminal complaint against the client.What confirmation of the earlier agreement did the client or the company for which the client (and lawyer) works provide?United Health Group CEO Stephen Hemsley was more involved in the handling of backdated stock options than previously revealed, according to new documents filed in a shareholder lawsuit that is moving toward a fall trial.
He also has no way of knowing whether the backdating will be scrutinized by a regulatory authority or even a Court.However, the actual date of signature should nevertheless be set out in the attestation clause at the end to avoid any claims that the document was intentionally misleading.Needless to say, even these methods of “backdating” a document should not be used when there was no earlier agreement and the document is just an attempt to give a false impression that something occurred on an earlier date than it did.However, an explanation often given by the person wanting to backdate the document is that the document is merely meant to reflect an oral agreement that has already been made and that this is just a way of documenting it.In theory, this would appear on the face of it to be a reasonable request, as it is just a private arrangement between two parties.