Questions on Confidentiality in the Face of Bodily Harm or Death
1. You represented a client who informed you during representation that he was a compulsive child molester. You discover that he has taken a job in a child care center. Under MRs, may you warn the center?
2. Your client, whom you are representing in a divorce proceeding, tells you that her husband is furious at his lawyer and plans to beat him up. She requests that you keep this quiet. Under the old MR 1.6(b)(1), may you inform opposing counsel? Under the new MR 1.6(b)(1)? May you do so under the Model Code?
3. Return to the facts of the Spaulding v. Zimmerman case, in which the defendants' lawyers (and perhaps the defendants), but not the plaintiff or his counsel, are aware that the plaintiff has a life threatening aneurism. Assuming that the defendants do not want to divulge the information, may their lawyers do so anyway under the old Model Rules? The new Model Rules? The Model Code?
4. Assume that suicide is not a crime in your jurisdiction. Are you allowed under the DR 4-101(C)(3) to reveal a client's intention to commit suicide as a means of protecting him? Are you allowed under the old Model Rules, or does one have to assume that the client is disabled under R. 1.14? Are you allowed under the new Model Rules?
Does it make sense, as in Balla, to compel a lawyer to reveal client
confidences if necessary to prevent the client from committing an act
that would result in death or serious bodily injury and yet, at the
same time, allow the client to fire the lawyer for doing the very thing
he is compelled to do?