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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


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.

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Wow...great answer! Thanks a lot. Hope you're keeping warm if you answered from Glens Falls, or somewhere else cold. I'm downstate and it's relatively warm: 34F.

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz


You're welcome. Beware, however, this is not my area of primary expertise and it's a novel question to me and kind of a one-off, knee jerk response. I am, however, very familiar with confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements and you should be able to find a form online and adapt it to your purposes. And yes, I'm in Glens Falls but it's 29°F now, it warms up acceptably on a sunny day from the subzero temperatures at night.

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz


p.s. (warning: shameless karma grovel), Lawyer's Avvo "participation levels" are based on not only answering questions, but "quality" points awarded when other attorneys agree and/or prospective clients mark the questions as "helpful" or "best answer". those Avvo users who like thoughtful, lengthy, responsive answers to questions rather than stock, canned responses like "consult with an attorney", I'm shaking the tip jar here for you to reward good answers with "karma" points. :-)


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.

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