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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 99380 Find in a Library
Title: Lawyer-Client Confidences Under the ABA Model Rules - Ethical Rules Without Ethical Reason
Journal: Criminal Justice Ethics  Volume:3  Issue:2  Dated:(Summer/Fall 1984)  Pages:3-8
Author(s): M H Freedman
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the American Bar Association (ABA)'s ethical guidelines for exceptions to lawyer-client relationships, proposes considerations to be used in weighting these exceptions, and provides a reordering of these exceptions.
Abstract: Under the ABA model rules, disclosure is required to rectify a fraud on the court or to obey court orders. It is permitted when necessary to defend the lawyer against assertions of wrongdoing involving the client, to collect fees, or to save human life. It is forbidden when it serves to prevent substantial financial loss to third parties caused by the client's wrongful conduct. It is suggested that this ranking is a grotesque caricature of an ethical profession and is indefensible on any rational ethical analysis. It is further suggested that exceptions to confidentiality be ranked by taking into account the purpose for the confidentiality rule, by making a judgment regarding the intrinsic value of each exception, by considering the availability of other means for achieving the same ends as an exception, and by avoiding fallacious argument. Using these criteria, it is argued that disclosure should be required only when necessary to save human life. Disclosure should be permitted only to obey court rules or orders (and only when all possible efforts to challenge the validity of the order have been made) or when necessary to defend the lawyer against formally instituted charges brought or supported by the client. Finally, disclosure should be forbidden even when it could prevent substantial financial loss to third parties, rectify a fraud on the court, or aid in the collection of lawyer fees. Included are 7 footnotes.
Index Term(s): American Bar Association (ABA); Attorney client relations; Code of ethics; Privileged communications; Professional conduct and ethics
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