Skip to main content

I asked this question before but it was misinterpreted. I intend to use an attorney to represent me in an SEC whistleblower case

New York, NY |

as I request anonymity. I know there's supposed to be anonymity between myself, the atty and the SEC. There are however, many sleazy lawyers out there (no offense intended), and what I'm afraid of, is a lawyer telling me I have no viable case and then sharing the matter with a friend or whomever, who assumes the position of the "plaintiff", reaping the possible rewards. How do I protect myself from this? Is there some kind of agreement signed to this effect upon meeting? As an aside, I filed for a patent and all of this was done up front, i.e., I was covered, so my invention couldn't be given to someone else. Thank you.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. You can certainly ask a prospective attorney to sign a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement (you can find them on the web) concerning the matters you wish to discuss, but I doubt that given the strict attorney-client confidentiality privileges that normally apply to such communications and the fact that you can get an attorney disciplined by the state licensing boards for unauthorized disclosure that many are going to be as "sleazy" as you fear.

    If your case is that good (are you looking for a contingency case?), I doubt they will lie to you about its viability and then find some dummy plaintiff to sue who will want less of a cut. But the non-disclosure agreement should help if you don't retain them and they launch some class action suit on behalf of someone else as you fear.

    This answer is provided under the Avvo.com “Terms and Conditions of Use” (“ToU”), particularly ¶9 which states that any information provided is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship between you and me or any other attorney. Such information is intended for general informational purposes and should be used only as a starting point for addressing your legal issues. In particular, my answers and those of other attorneys on Avvo.com are not a substitute for an in-person or telephone consultation with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction about your specific legal issue. I can only answer your question based on the brief statement of facts you present in your question which may omit other relevant facts which would be disclosed in an in-person interview. While I attempt to provide reasonable care in answering your questions in an online forum which encourages attorneys to provide brief "off the cuff" responses within several hours of the posting of a question, I cannot perform any further detailed legal research concerning possibly relevant statutory or case law which might apply to your situation that I would normally do in the course of my representation of clients where an attorney-client relationship exists (and you are paying for my services!). You should therefore not rely solely upon legal information you obtain from this website or other resources which may be linked to an answer for informational purposes. You understand that questions and answers or other postings to the Site are not confidential and are not subject to attorney-client privilege. The full Avvo ToU are set forth at http://www.avvo.com/support/terms . In addition, while similar legal principles often apply in many states, I am only licensed to practice in the State of New York and Federal Courts. Any general information I provide about non-New York laws should be checked with an attorney licensed to practice in your State. Lastly, New York State Court rules (22 NYCRR Part 1200, Rule 7.1, available online at http://jackle.bo/_prof ) also require me to inform you that my answers and attorney profile posted on the Avvo.com site may be considered "attorney advertising" and that "prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome".


  2. Attorney/client privilege generally starts when you meet with an attorney for the purpose of a consultation, which of course makes sense when you're talking about someone trying to get all the facts to figure out if you've got a case (or not). While that should be enough, you can certainly ask prospective counsel to sign a confidentiality agreement beforehand. But the best protection you can get is hiring reputable counsel with whom you are comfortable - and that is something only you can determine.

    The foregoing is not legal advice nor is it in any manner whatsoever meant to create or impute an attorney/client relationship.