There are serious professional obligations that are at stake when an attorney represents a client in the process of a case. Ethical issues are never far removed from the practice of law as two parties debate the merits of their claims, regardless of their legitimacy.
Yet it is when a lawyer is presented with a quandary that places them in a difficult situation where the regular boundaries are pushed to their limits. This raises many questions with the foremost being: how fan does the attorney-client privilege extend and what are the breaking points in which action has to be taken?
Needless to say that attorneys will not be receiving any sympathy when they are found in these scenarios because they are entirely voluntary. However, it is important to note some of the situations that these experts find themselves in.
Divulging of Private Information Publically
In the age of smartphones and social media, the freedom and accessibility of communication tools has made the process of concealing and privatizing information incredibly difficult. Even in the events following a consultation whereby an attorney will communicate in crystal clear detail that their client should avoid all use of social media and breaching confidentiality, there are instances whereby a statement will be made in some shape or form that can compromise a case.
The question then arises as to what limits an attorney can impose control on their client in these scenarios because, in spite of the stakes involved in a case, there are individual rights at play simultaneously.
There is a problem that arises for attorneys that happens to be the opposite of divulging of privileged and sensitive information by clients. Despite being told during meetings and consultations that they need to disclose all facts of the case to make the defense or prosecution process move more efficiently, some decide to withhold vital information. Whether they believe it would compromise their situation or simply overlook it as an important asset, attorneys are only as good as the information in which they are equipped with.
Client Committing Perjury
It is against the law for an attorney to knowingly have a client lie under oath. This is considered a criminal act and an ethical violation of the highest order. If this occurs in spite of the council that is given, then the representative is advised to inform the council about the perjury. Different states have unique rules in these scenarios to muddy the waters.