Aon | Professional Services Practice
Release Date: March 2023
Confidentiality Breaches as Grounds for Lawyer Liability
By Doug Richmond, Managing Director and Loss Prevention Leader
Lawyers’ duty of confidentiality to clients is incredibly broad. In states that follow Rule 1.6 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers must treat as confidential all information related to clients’ representations, regardless of its source, absent client consent or the applicability of an exception to Rule 1.6 Lawyers also owe a fiduciary duty of confidentiality that is actionable in breach. On the right facts, a breach of the duty of confidentiality may expose a lawyer to a legal malpractice claim. Lawyers may also have confidentiality obligations under federal and state statutes that are triggered by their representation of clients and that may give rise to causes of action or penalties if violated. In an article from the Quality Assurance Review, Winter 2023, Doug Richmond, who leads Professional Services Practice’s Loss Prevention team, addresses the potential legal malpractice and statutory liability lawyers may face in the wake of a breach of their duties of confidentiality to clients.