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Breaking the attorney-client privilege: taboo for a strong reason

As a thoughtful reader of a blog devoted to subject matter regarding attorney professionalism and competence (and, sometimes, sadly, lack thereof), do you believe it is in the public's interest to be kept in the dark when state authorities admonish an attorney for deficient performance?

We didn't think so.

When an attorney's legal representation has become so problematic that bar officials see the need to issue a reprimand or otherwise admonish that lawyer, it seems only reasonable that the public be privy to the details. Otherwise, the next person's retention of such an attorney -- with that person possibly being you or someone you know -- could ultimately yield dire results.

A recent media article focuses on bar-authored private admonitions, and also spotlights a case where, reportedly on at least four occasions, an attorney made a mockery of the bedrock and time-honored concept of attorney-client privilege by leaking privileged information about clients to criminal authorities.

As we note in our headline for today's post, that is a flatly taboo act, and for compelling reasons.

For starters, a lawyer in California or elsewhere is a fiduciary, that is, a figure that a client is justifiably entitled to rely upon and who has a legal duty to act in the best interests of any person he or she is professionally representing.

Breaching that trust is a fundamental wrong, both to the client and to the legal system as a whole, with the legal profession's integrity being undermined every time an attorney-client privilege is thrown out the window by a bad-faith, calloused or incompetent lawyer.

Any person who suffers from an attorney's breach of professionalism -- in any regard -- might reasonably want to contact an experienced legal malpractice lawyer without delay for counsel and, when necessary, rigorous representation.

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