If the client was Donald Trump?
The lawyer is a New Jersey attorney named Thomas Wells who just posted the dishy narrative below, on Huffington Post:
Another lawyer, Kevin O’Keefe (@
whom I follow on Twitter, asks whether Mr. Wells breached New Jersey ethics rules when he posted a story about his previous client. (Oh stop it! I hear everyone chortling, “WHAT?! New Jersey ethics rules?!” and muttering “Wasn’t Chris Christie once the U.S. attorney in Jersey, and you’re asking “Jersey ethics?” Well, you cynics, apparently New Jersey has a professional code of legal ethics. Whether or not any lawyer in Jersey feels particularly bound to them is another questions.
Anyhow, in response to Mr. O’Keefe’s tweet, immediately I jumped feet first into New Jersey Code and dug out what follows, re what kind of information lawyers must keep confidential.
I’m not a lawyer, so I leave it up to all of you to decide: In trashing Donald Trump on HuffPo, did Mr. Wells breach a code of ethics? And if he did, is there a chance that he doesn’t give a fuck?
From New Jersey’s Code of Professional [Legal] Ethics:
RPC 1.6 Confidentiality of Information
(a) A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to representation of a client unless the client consents after consultation, except for disclosures that are impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation, and except as stated in paragraphs (b), (c), and (d).
(b) A lawyer shall reveal such information to the proper authorities, as soon as, and to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary, to prevent the client or another person:
(1) from committing a criminal, illegal or fraudulent act that the lawyer reasonably believes is likely to result in death or substantial bodily harm or substantial injury to the financial interest or property of another;
(c) If a lawyer reveals information pursuant to RPC 1.6(b), the lawyer also may reveal the information to the person threatened to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes is necessary to protect that person from death, substantial bodily harm, substantial financial injury, or substantial property loss.
(d) A lawyer may reveal such information to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary:
(1) to rectify the consequences of a client’s criminal, illegal or fraudulent act in the furtherance of which the lawyer’s services had been used;
(2) to establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in a controversy between the lawyer and the client, or to establish a defense to a criminal charge, civil claim or disciplinary complaint against the lawyer based upon the conduct in which the client was involved; or
(e) Reasonable belief for purposes of RPC 1.6 is the belief or conclusion of a reasonable lawyer that is based upon information that has some foundation in fact and constitutes prima facie evidence of the matters referred to in subsections (b), (c), or (d).