Everyone has heard of client-attorney privilege. It is as complicated or simple as we make it. I make it simple because privilege really boils down to one thing. Giving information to your lawyer should be the same as talking to yourself. As long as we are not planning to commit a crime, we are treated as one person. And the privilege is considered your property, not mine, so only you can decide whether something should be revealed. Privilege only works at my end as a habit, and habits are hard to break, so don’t expect me to traffic in gossip, even about people who are not my clients.
Even aside from privilege, I am uncomfortable revealing any more about clients than is absolutely needed to plead a lawsuit or the like. And it is hard to imagine a client who would want to be used that way. I certainly would not want my name and private business bandied about by a braggart. Besides, what use is a lawyer who can’t keep a secret? Apologies for any inconvenience, but if the choice is between privacy and convenience, privacy wins every time.
One observation, offered without fear of violating anyone’s privacy: My clients are among the most honest, forthright and all-around decent human beings I have ever met. And you can quote me on that.
David G. Harding
P.O. Box 405
Palatine, IL 60078-0405
Phone: (312) 782-3039
Fax: (312) 236-0678