Client Confidentiality

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Client Confidentiality

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 25, 2012 10:56 am

How far does client confidentiality extend? Are we allowed to talk generally about cases? Like, could I tell a non-affiliated person "Right now I am working on a burglary case where someone stole something from Macy's?" or does that breach client confidentiality?

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Re: Client Confidentiality

Postby Detrox » Fri May 25, 2012 10:02 pm

General info is fine, but this is an easy case to just err on the side of caution. "I'm working on a burglary case where someone stole something from a department store." No reason to put Macy's, not that its a violation of confidentiality if you do anyway. It's "I'm working on Def Named X's case" or "I'm researching how the specific contours of Issue A can apply in this antitrust case involving Corporation C" where you're really going to get yourself in trouble. It's a hard line to nail down, but it's an easy one to avoid: be general.

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Re: Client Confidentiality

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Sat May 26, 2012 1:32 pm

Ooooooo, this isn't actually an easy question. In addition to the above, which is credited, I'll add this. For example, if you filed a Complaint (or entered an appearance on behalf of the defendant, answered, etc.), well, the general facts and your client's name (and the fact that you represent that client) are now public knowledge. So, you can talk about that. What you cannot do is mention any non-public information / strategy.

So you CAN say "I represent Macy's against a person claiming they slipped and fell on their property. The case involves claims for Negligence, loss of consortium, etc. Our position is . . . ," but only citing things someone would discover if they read the pleadings.

But speaking generally can be worse, in my opinion. You might think you're crafty by not dropping any identifying details, thus thinking you can safely discuss the more juicy, non-public facts or thoughts on litigation strategy, but then it's possible (though highly unlikely) the person you spoke with could review the public record, see that you represent X client in a case involving Y, and realize that was what you were talking about.

My advice? Don't talk about cases with anyone but your closest, trustworthy friends / family. And if you do, don't talk about anything not in the public record.
Last edited by NotMyRealName09 on Sat May 26, 2012 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Client Confidentiality

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 26, 2012 1:36 pm

If it is something like a criminal case that was written about in the paper, I'll sometimes just forward a copy of the article because those are the only facts I feel comfortable sharing.

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