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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136353 Find in a Library
Title: Whistleblowing and Lawyers
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice  Volume:7  Issue:3  Dated:(August 1991)  Pages:154-166
Author(s): B A Belbot
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 13
Type: Report (Technical Assistance)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of the difficulties faced by a corporate attorney who discovers that a client has taken illegal or unethical action in a federally-funded project notes that the lawyer's code of professional ethics and the common law obligation to keep client confidences make it virtually impossible for an attorney to disclose such behavior.
Abstract: Corporate lawyers are legal advisors who function mainly in a non-litigation context. Although the attorney-client privilege is limited to communications that can be introduced into evidence during a trial, the more general ethical duty of client confidentiality is a lawyer's obligation to protect any embarrassing or detrimental information about a client, regardless of how the lawyer obtained the information. This duty has been formally stated in the American Bar Association's Code of Professional Responsibility. Criticisms of this code led to the development of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which contain standards for when a lawyer can reveal a client's confidential information. The Model Rules have also been criticized, and other measures have been instituted, to augment attorneys' attempts to regulate themselves. However, concern continues over the moral and ethical responsibility of lawyers to blow the whistle, because the current situation is too costly both for the public interest and for the attorneys who must compromise their personal morality. 17 references and list of cases
Main Term(s): Attorney client relations; Corporate crimes
Index Term(s): Professional conduct and ethics
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