The Law for Lawyers Today

The Law for Lawyers Today

Ethics, Professional Responsibility and More

Category Archives: Confidentiality

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What can you say when the client doesn’t pay? ABA opinion gives withdrawal guidance

Posted in Communication, Confidentiality, Law Practice Management
Old-time lawyers say that it used to be easy to get the court's permission to withdraw from a case. You would just go to the judge and state, "Your Honor, we are not ready to go forward, and I am seeking leave to withdraw, because Mr. Green has not arrived." You know: "Mr. Green" aka the moolah, aka the promised fee from the client. And, so the story goes, the judge would bang the gavel and grant your motion.… Continue Reading

Five signs that your law department could be headed for a privilege problem

Posted in Confidentiality, In-house Counsel, Law Practice Management, Privilege
Regulatory compliance, cyber-security issues, herding legal operations staff -- in-house legal practice is more complex than ever. One element that remains a continuing challenge is protecting the organization's attorney-client privilege. Slipping up can risk the loss of the privilege in litigation involving the company, and can potentially result in an order to produce otherwise confidential communications to the other side. What are some signs that your law department needs to tune up its privilege IQ?… Continue Reading

Microsoft acquisition of LinkedIn could spell ethics issues for lawyers

Posted in Confidentiality, Law Practice Management, Social Media and Internet
Microsoft's plans to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion was the talk of the tech world late last month. The combination of these behemoths is going to give Microsoft access to all LinkedIn's data. Microsoft's CEO has given some examples of the potential synergies that will result, like "getting a feed of potential experts from LinkedIn whenever Office notices you're working on a relevant task." But legal ethics issues loom, involving our duty of confidentiality under Rule 1.6.… Continue Reading

Violating confidentiality order results in lawyer’s DQ and referral to state ethics board

Posted in Confidentiality, Disqualification, How Not to Practice
Courts often analyze motions to disqualify by balancing the need to uphold professional standards against the rights of clients to choose their lawyers freely. The New Jersey court of appeals struck that balance earlier this month in upholding the disqualification of a lawyer who violated a confidentiality order, finding that the lawyer knowingly disobeyed a court order, among other violations.… Continue Reading

Lawyers can’t necessarily disclose former client info, even if it’s “publicly available”

Posted in Confidentiality, How Not to Practice
You’re chatting with your pals at the bar association cocktail hour, and talk turns to the indictment just handed down against a former city official.  Someone says, “Hey, didn’t your firm used to represent her?”  “Yes,” you reply, “and a couple years ago, I had a really interesting case involving her.  Maybe I shouldn’t discuss it —… Continue Reading

Fired GC fends off dismissal of retaliation claim, can sue individual director, says district court

Posted in Confidentiality, In-house Counsel
A fired GC of a public company recently fended off dismissal of his whistle-blower retaliation claims in California district court.  Adding to a split in authority, the chief magistrate judge for the Northern District of California held (1) that the protections of the Dodd-Frank Act applied even though the GC made his report internally, and not to the… Continue Reading

Privilege covers lawyer notes from GM ignition switch investigation, district court finds

Posted in Confidentiality, Privilege, Work-product
Both in-house and outside counsel can learn valuable lessons from In re General Motors, a recently-issued federal opinion on the attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine. While some recent decisions have chipped away at the protections for attorney notes and internal memos, this opinion reaffirms that documents a lawyer creates during a corporate investigation will be… Continue Reading
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