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Legal Ethics Committee Adopts New Opinion on Disclosing Client Information

May 09, 2022

In April 2022, the Legal Ethics Committee issued Opinion 383 finding that, absent informed consent, a lawyer generally may not disclose to a client or prospective client information about another client or prospective client that is a protected secret or confidence under Rules 1.6 or 1.18. Such protected information often includes (1) the identity of another client or prospective client and (2) the nature of the other person’s matter. LEO 383 cautions that even requesting or agreeing to a commitment to make such disclosures pursuant to an outside counsel agreement or otherwise may constitute a prohibited attempt or inducement to another to violate the Rules. The opinion also concludes that Rules 1.7(d) and 1.16 — and not an advance agreement between one client and outside counsel — govern whether a lawyer must or may withdraw from her representation of another client if a “midstream” conflict arises. Finally, a lawyer may not permit a client to access the lawyer’s records if such access might disclose confidences or secrets of other clients. Read the full opinion here.

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