Lawyeringlaw.com Tip of the Month

Tip for June 2012

Preserve Confidential Information When Withdrawing from Representation

ABA Model Rule 1.6 of the Rules of Professional Conduct requires that lawyers preserve confidential information about client matters. When a lawyer withdraws from a matter that is not before a tribunal, and does not require a motion for leave to withdraw, there is no need to disclose any information, including confidential information. When a matter is pending before a tribunal and a motion for leave to withdraw is required, it is important to avoid any unnecessary disclosure of confidential information. Although a motion to withdraw may need to set forth grounds for withdrawal, these can be expressed in generic terms that reveal little in the way of confidential information. If the tribuanl requires further detail, it may be advisable to reequest an in camera hearing so that disclosure is not made to opposing counsel or to the public. Even under these circumstances, the lawyer should reveal as little as possible to accomplish the goal of withdrawal and make a record that the disclosure is being made at the instance of the tribunal. Under no circumstances should any confidential information be disclosed unless it is necessary.