It's implausible that any responsible lawyer, let alone one as experienced as Baldwin, would fail to make clear whom she represents and whom she does not. I believe she was instructed by Spanier to represent the three of them as Penn State employees. It's especially interesting that Joe Paterno brought his own counsel. He either spotted the obvious conflict of interest, realized that Old Main's objective would be to get people's stories straight (putting him at risk of perjury or conspiracy charges), and/or was (wisely) wary of being thrown under the bus by Spanier and those working at the President's behest.
As soon as Spanier issued his statement of "unconditional support" for Curley and Schultz, it occurred to me that he was trying to keep them on the ranch and have them "take one for the team." That hasty statement of support made no sense to me otherwise. It looked like the product of an anxiety attack from a very worried man. My opinion on this was further solidified when the University quickly agreed to pay Curley and Schultz's legal fees and allowed them gracious non-exits. "The team" in this case was probably sold to them by Spanier as good ol' State, but he was looking out for his own interests. They were on the stand, using that weird old man "horsing around" language they got from Jerry, because someone convinced them it was in PSU's best interests to get their stories straight and tell a tale that made the actual whistleblowers look like villains who downplayed the seriousness of the matter.
This scenario is further suggested by the statements made by the BOT about Spanier and Baldwin's minimization of the real risk to the University when Sarah's original Sandusky story appeared in the P-N as well as the CDT. In the frantic first days of unpreparedness following the arrests, Spanier was busy doctoring/softening the BOT's press release to suit his own interests, per several trustees. Garban, meanwhile, was inexplicably uninterested in reading the GJ report...why? Because he already knew what it said from Spanier?
Spanier is a so-so washboard player, but dude is truly some kind of magician. He's almost wholly disappeared from the Sandusky story, he likely engaged in machinations after the arrest to ensure that the BOT viewed Paterno as the bigger problem, and he somehow conned three professionals in his administration into taking actions that were not in any of their own best interests.
And now we're to believe that Baldwin somehow overlooked the one ethical lesson that is drilled into every attorney's head? Wasn't she in a large law firm where new clients are not accepted until a review is conducted to ensure there are no conflicts of interest? Seems a little difficult to believe she'd be so slipshod, especially because her hiring had to be for reasons other than the fact that some "external review" showed that PSU was highly unusual compared to its peer institutions because it didn't have in-house counsel. Why was she hired then, and not at an earlier or much later date? (The absence of in-house counsel would be an obvious oddity to anyone who spent time in any other major university setting. The complexities of a large university, including compliance with state and federal laws, make it extremely difficult for even a stellar outside firm to fully appreciate and advise on the day-to-day issues that crop up at a university.)
Yet in-house counsel (good ones) are pesky, always insisting that things be done on the up-and-up. I would not be surprised if Spanier deliberately avoided modernizing PSU's legal representation so as not to have his grand plans spoiled or delayed by annoying issues of compliance. No leader who truly cared about his/her institution (and not just his/her own ego) would subject such a well-regarded university to the level of risk that Spanier and the willfully ignorant BOT did. His reasons for doing so might have been similar to the reasons he lobbied for an exemption from typical Right to Know requirements for public institutions.
Why was Baldwin brought on board? Maybe Spanier knew this stuff was coming down, and needed to put a moat in around Old Main. Certainly, however, you'd think she'd get a strong head's up about the pending matter: "Oh, by the way, looks like your first big job will be to get us out of a mess involving our alleged complicity in allowing a pedophile to use our campus and the allure of PSU to entrap his young victims."
Unfortunately for Baldwin, however, the price of stepping up and filling that role on an emergency basis is that she now, along with Curley and Schultz, will take one for the team while the real culprit(s) play racquetball and pull rabbits out of hats (or whatever the hell it is he/they are doing these days). Maybe she was under Graham's magical spell, too, but why would this prominent lawyer in the later stages of her career agree to let Lanny Davis make her sound like an incompetent cardboard cutout of a lawyer?
Heck if I know, but I bet it's related to another mystery for our times--how it could be that a coach who allegedly "ran" all of PSU was told to dial a number to collect a "very special message" about the end of his career.
Great work identifying the real issues that tie the Sandusky mess to PSU, Sarah.