Washington Law Review


Stuart Watt


This Comment examines the lawyer's duty of confidentiality under the RPC. This examination begins with a discussion of the general rule of confidentiality and its purposes. The duty of confidentiality, however, is not absolute, and the RPC provide several exceptions to the rule. Under Rule 1.6, for example, a lawyer may disclose those client confidences necessary to carry out the representation of the client, to collect his or her fees, to defend the lawyer in an action regarding the representation of the client, or upon court order. In addition, under the RPC, the lawyer may reveal client confidences to the extent necessary to prevent the client from committing any future crime. Controversy exists as to whether lawyers should be required to reveal client intentions to commit violent crimes. In cases where the client has the intention to commit a potentially violent crime on an identified victim, the lawyer may be subjected to tort liability for not disclosing the intentions of the client.

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