Thursday, July 12, 2007

Attorney-client privilege

It seems that the relationship between attorney and client has been taking a bit of a beating lately. Yes, this includes Harriet Miers, who apparently really wasn't the President's personal in-house counsel -- at least according to the Democratic Congress that plans to do nothing but fishing expeditions for the next two years.

But Montana Headlines was thinking more of the start of what promises to be a long list of clients that Fred Thompson had over his career as an attorney.

Maybe we're looking at this too simplistically, but it seems that when we go in to talk to an attorney about any legal matter, we have the expectation that said attorney will not disclose what we said, what was advised, and what was done. The story is ours to tell, if we want to tell it.

And even if we choose to disclose something ourselves, one would think that any ethical attorney would refrain from making any further comments about matters discussed. After all, who is in a better position to know the damage that revealed private information can have than the attorney?

So, Fred Thompson was very wise when he made the following statement, blogging on the prestigious conservative site Powerline:

I’m certainly not surprised that such a diverse career is being mined by others. As we get further into this political season we will undoubtedly see the further intersection of law, politics and the mainstream media.

However I intend to keep in mind the appropriate distinction and separation between law and politics, and I do not intend to get sucked in to doing a disservice to either of them or to myself.


In other words, he's not going to tell legal tales out of school, and will protect the privacy of his clients. In this day and age when every American has reason to be concerned about the access that others can have to our personal data, financial records, phone calls, e-mail, and medical records -- one suspects that Thompson's stance will resonate.

1 comment:

ReAnn said...

I believe that you only need to look as far as our own Mt Supreme Court in the recent ruling No. 04-562, 2007 MT 81, IN THE MATTER OF STEVEN T. POTTS, an Attorney at Law.
The Commission also determined that the duty of candor toward the tribunal under Rule 3.3(a)(2), M.R.P.C., superseded Potts’s duty of confidentiality under Rule 1.6, M.R.P.C.

Not being a lawyer myself, the gist of the matter as I understand it is: Can you tell your attorney that you have committed fraud or a crime, or are going to commit fraud or a crime, and still expect confidentiality? NOT if you take this Supreme Court Ruling literally. This concerns me & I hope others!

Mr. Potts happens to have been my personal lawyer & friend for over 10 years now. I cannot think of a more professional, smarter lawyer that I would ever want watching my back. I want to know that if I told my lawyer, in confidence, that my ‘gangsta gang’ & I had decided to go rob a bank next week, that as my attorney he would hold that confidence to his dying day. Even against the Mt. Supreme Court & their censures! Obviously, Steve Potts is that kind of an Attorney. I hope that there are many more still in Montana & the nation!!