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Public Information

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Confidentiality: Public Information
Vanessa Martinez
Kaplan University

Part 1 Confidentiality: Public Information
Any party of a legal team working on a case has the duty to remain silent when information about a case has been made public. “The Duty-is a personal promise made to each client” (Confidentiality Issue: Public Information) Thomas F. Goldman. Rule 1.6 of ABA model rules requires lawyers to keep any information received from a client private at all times, even if the case is made public. For instance, in the video Alesha reads a newspaper article aloud containing information to a case Judy is currently working on. Even though the case was public and Alesha read it aloud Judy was still not able to give any information to Alesha due to confidently laws that protect the client. Information made public can always be false, newspapers always want to create drama sometimes creating more of the situation when that is not the case. In the second scenario Judy did the right thing by telling Alesha she shouldn’t believe everything she reads and that it was not a good idea to talk about the case where there are so many people present.
If incorrect information about a case has been made public, members of a legal team cannot correct this misinformation. If any person in a legal team decides to correct the information, it would be a violation of confidently and can result in serious consequences. Information that newspaper leaks or creates is to be ignored and attorneys are to focus are the information that they have. Just as in the video when Alesha found the newspaper article with Judy’s case after reading it aloud Judy knew the information was correct but she could not say anything because it violated Rule 1.6. Information should never be shared with out the consent of the client.
Confidential information about case can be shared between members of a law firm but all agents must be covered under the “attorney client privilege” before engaging in the client’s case. Thomas F. Goldman (2015, pg.32) If the agents are not covered the lawyer is not allowed to share information with anyone. [4] Paragraph (a) “Prohibits a lawyer from revealing information relating to the representation of a client”. (ABA comment on rule1.6) (2016) The only way a lawyer is able to speak about a case is if the lawyer is certain that the listener will not be able to identify the client or the situation involved or if the client is committing a crime. Discussing a case with someone in the same law firm who is not covered by privilege can create a third party who can use the information received against the client.
Both confidentiality and attorney-client privilege encourage clients to trust their lawyers. Attorney-client privilege protects the confidential communications between an attorney and his or her client. It protects any inclusive communications made between the parties in the course of the time they do business together anything the client tells the attorney while seeking legal advice it to be kept protected. The privilege is a rule of evidence that applies when an attorney is under oath and can only be waived by the client. If the client reveals information the privilege is lost.
Duty of Confidentiality is an ethic. Confidentiality requires more work; it involves all sources where information can be received not only what the client is telling an attorney but also any paper work, emails etc., anything containing private information about a client is to be kept private and not to be shared. This information is to be kept private even after the client passes.
Confidentiality and privilege do only protect the client but also the attorney because of the “self-defensive exception”. If an attorney is accused of wrong doing by their client, they must be able to defend themselves this defensive may need both rules. So that the attorney may be able to reveal client information to defend themselves. Thomas F. Goldman (2016, Pg.32)

Part 2 Confidentiality: Public Information
Model 3.4 (Advocate-Fairness to Opposing Part and Counsel) states, a lawyer shall not “unlawfully obstruct another party’s access to evidence or unlawfully alter, destroy, or conceal a document or other material having potential evidentiary value,” nor “counsel or assist another person to any such act.” Thomas F. Goldman (2016, Pg.44) Falsify evidence; or assisting someone to do so is prohibited by law and can lead to some serious consequences. For instance, in the video two paralegals are presented with an issue when a document with Mr. Williams signature stating that a thermostat was broken has been discovered. But when Mr. William was presented with the issue he stated differently and said it was not broken. The female paralegal who found the paper that was placed is a file labeled with something completely different decides she wants to shred the document because no one but her and the male paralegal knew that the document existed. If the female paralegal shreds the document and the male paralegal fails to say anything they will both face serious consequences, because they will be violating ABA model rule 3.4.
The ethics in Pennsylvania addressing destruction of evidence are similar to the ABA Rule Model 3.4. (Pennsylvania Bar Association Opinion 2014-300) “Attorney may ask a client to delete information from their social media accounts if it does not destroy any information and is not illegal, but must take appropriate action to maintain the information” Advisory ethics opinions are not binding (June 25, 2015). For instance, in the case Allied Concrete Co. v. Lester, 736 S.E.2d 699 (Va. 2013) Murray (attorney) instructed his paralegal Smith to notify Lester (client) about his Facebook account and to clean it up. Lester then contacted Murray letting him know he no longer has an account and deleted all of the photos, the photos that Lester had deleted were evidence for the Allied concrete company case. Because Murray instructed Lester to clean up his Facebook account and knew that Lester had deleted evidence he took part in the violation of Model Rue 3.4. Sanctions were made to both Mr. Murray in the amount of $542,00 and Lester in the amount of $180,000 for destroying evidence. Allied Concrete Co. v. Lester, 736 S.E.2d 699 (Va. 2013).

References:
Goldman, Thomas F. (2016) Technology in the law office Fourth edition
Retrieved from: http://kaplan.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781323283424/cfi/0!/4/2/12/46/4@0:100
Pearson. Confidentiality Issue: Public Information
Retrieved from: http://mediaplayer.pearsoncmg.com/_ph_hsml_cc_set.title.Confidentiality_Issue:_Public_Information__/ph/streaming/careers/2013/mylegalstudieslab/case_studies/Confidentiality_Issue_Public_Information.m4v
Pennsylvania Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct
Retrieved from: http://www.law.cornell.edu/ethics/pa/code/PA_CODE.HTM#Rule_3.4
(PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF THE FLORIDA BAR
OPINION 14-1) Advisory ethics opinions are not binding (June 25, 2015)
Retrieved from: http://www.floridabar.org/tfb/tfbetopin.nsf/SearchView/ETHICS,+OPINION+14-1?opendocument
Allied Concrete Co. v. Lester, 736 S.E.2d 699 (Va. 2013).
Retrieved from: http://www.leagle.com/decision/In%20VACO%2020130110E77/ALLIED%20CONCRETE%20CO.%20v.%20LESTER…...

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