RealNews

Lawyers Pressed to Give Up Ground on Client Secrets

Impelled by a wave of corporate scandals, tax evasion and concerns over terrorism, government regulators and prosecutors have taken a variety of steps that seek to limit what some lawyers say is a core principle of their profession: the ability to protect their clients’ confidences. Many lawyers have reacted to the new restrictions by arguing that the lawyer-client privilege is not only a traditional tool in their arsenal but a critical one in the proper functioning of the legal system. But even the American Bar Association seems prepared to cede some ground on the issue. The association, which began its annual meeting late last week in San Francisco, will consider changes to its model code of conduct, which state judiciaries draw on in defining lawyers’ responsibilities. The changes would recommend permitting lawyers greater discretion to disclose client confidences, although lawyers would not be required to do so, as the regulators are insisting. Full Story

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