Legal Memorandum: Client-lawyer Confidentiality Principle in UT

Issue: When may an attorney reveal information relating to the representation of a client in Utah?

Area of Law: Ethics & Professional Responsibility
Keywords: Client-lawyer confidentiality; Exception
Jurisdiction: Utah
Cited Cases: 178 P.3d 915; 173 P.3d 848; 984 P.2d 980
Cited Statutes: Utah R. Prof. Conduct 1.6 cmt. 3; Utah R. Evid. 504(d)(2)
Date: 07/01/2012

Whether or not an attorney may reveal information relating to the representation of a client is governed by the Utah Rules of Evidence, statutes and case law, as well as the Rules of Professional Conduct. 

The principle of client-lawyer confidentiality is given effect by related bodies of law: the attorney-client privilege, the work-product doctrine and the rule of confidentiality established in professional ethics.  The attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine apply in judicial and other proceedings in which a lawyer may be called as a witness or otherwise required to produce evidence concerning a client.  The rule of client-lawyer confidentiality applies in situations other than those where evidence is sought from the lawyer through compulsion of law. The confidentiality rule, for example, applies not only to matters communicated in confidence by the client but also to all information relating to the representation, whatever its source.  A lawyer may not disclose such information except as authorized or required by the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.


Utah R. Prof. Conduct 1.6 cmt. 3 (emphasis added). 

The Rules of Professional Conduct allow disclosure under limited circumstances.  “A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation or the disclosure is permitted by [Rule 1.6(b)].”  Id. 1.6(a).  See also id. 1.9(c)(2) (same standard of confidentiality applies to former clients).  The circumstances under […]

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