Confidential information was mixed with another client's. Is that a violation of attorney/client privilege?

Asked about 1 month ago - San Diego, CA

I'm a little unnerved to find that my attorney mixed confidential information of mine with another client's file that he returned to them, and they've now read my information. Is that an attorney/client privilege violation?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Alan Ray Barnes

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . Yes, an attorney's unauthorized disclosure of confidential information violates the attorney/client privilege. The primary purpose of that privilege is to protect confidential information from your opponents in litigation, and there is extensive case law regarding how to remedy an inadvertent violation.

    But while it is unfortunate that this happened, and while we all strive to protect our clients' confidences, these things happen. (That's why there's a large body of case law on how to deal with them.) It sounds as though your information was produced to another client rather than an opponent. Unless you were damaged, and unless the disclosure was intentional or reckless, your best bet is just to get the information back and move on.

  2. Jennifer L. Ellis

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

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    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . Likely so. How serious depends on the specifics. I don't blame you for being upset. Can you find out how much was shared? Why it happened? Lawyers make mistakes, but confidentiality of your data is very important. If the situation is very serious you can consider reporting what happened to your state's disciplinary board. Hopefully this is a one time mistake from which the lawyer will learn a lesson.

    I am sorry this happened to you.

    I am licensed in Pennsylvania. Members of my firm are licensed in various states, including Pennsylvania, New... more

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