PLEASE NOTE:  Publication for public comment is not, and shall not, be construed as a recommendation or approval by the Board of Trustees of the materials published.

SUBJECT:

Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 09-0001B (Duty of Confidentiality and Seeking Legal Advice).

BACKGROUND:

The State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) is charged with the task of issuing advisory opinions on the ethical propriety of hypothetical attorney conduct. In accordance with Tab 19, Article 2, Section 6(g) of the State Bar Board Book the Committee shall publish proposed formal opinions for a public comment period of no less than 60 days.

DISCUSSION/PROPOSAL:

Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 09-0001B considers: May an attorney disclose client confidences to her own attorney to evaluate a wrongful discharge action against her former firm and, in pursuing her claim, may she or her attorney publicly disclose those client confidences?

The opinion interprets rules 1-120, 3-100 and 3-310 of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California and Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1).

The opinion digest states: While an attorney may disclose client confidences to her own attorney to evaluate a potential wrongful discharge claim against her former firm, neither she nor her attorney may publicly disclose those confidences except in the narrowest of circumstances.

At its November 5, 2011 meeting and in accordance with its Rules of Procedure (State Bar Board Book Tab 19, Art. 2, Sec. 6(g)), the State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct tentatively approved Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 09-0001B for a 90‑day public comment distribution.

ANY KNOWN FISCAL/PERSONNEL IMPACT:

None

ATTACHMENT:

Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 09-0001B

SOURCE:

State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct

DEADLINE:

5 p.m., April 30, 2012

DIRECT COMMENTS TO:

Angela Marlaud
Office of Professional Competence, Planning and Development
State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639
Ph. (415) 538-2116
Fax (415) 538-2171
E-mail: angela.marlaud@calbar.ca.gov