Ethics Forum: Questions and Answers on Professional Liability


I was looking at the rule of professional conduct Rule 1.6, the rule of confidentiality, and I am curious as to whether my letter of honor with a client is confidential and falls within the scope of privilege. Is it?

Samuel C. Stretton.

Lawyer-client professional secrecy, which is statutory in nature and also rests on a common law basis, has been extended by Professional Conduct Rule 1.6. From now on, a lawyer cannot reveal any information relating to the representation of the client. There are exceptions under Rule 1.6 (c) involving threats of death or grievous bodily harm, to prevent a client from committing a crime that could result in substantial harm to the financial interests or property of others, to prevent or mitigate the consequences of any criminal or fraudulent act in which the services of the lawyer have been used, to establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer, a controversy between the lawyer and the client, or to obtain advice on the lawyer’s compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct. In other words, if a lawyer asks someone else for advice on the rules of conduct, there may be an exception to the rule for a lawyer to defend himself by saying that he has sought advice on the question.

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