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Attorney client relationship post attorney taking government enforcement job

Los Angeles, CA |

if an attorney that a client had an attorney client privilege relationship with ends up taking a new job for a government enforcement agency such as fda, irs, sec could the attorney use the privileged information to try and bring down their former client by bringing criminal charges against them if during the attorney client relationship the attorney was knowingly aware of some misconduct that was overseen by previous regulators? (note: this matter applies to both state and federal matters for the purposes of getting an idea of how this would work).

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Attorney answers 3


The duties of loyalty and confidentiality that an attorney owes to a client does not end when the representation ends. See



does this also apply to federal matters?

Anthony Michael Solis

Anthony Michael Solis


If it is a California matter, it doesn't matter if it is state or federal, the state bar rules apply to all California attorneys


An attorney is required to keep all matters confidential regarding his client and may not report a client to authorities except in very limited circumstances that would not apply in your situation. The duty of confidentiality does not end just because the attorney is not representing the client any longer.


Assuming that the information known by the attorney was intended to be confidential and privileged, not only would the attorney be obligated to maintain confidentiality, but that information - and any evidence that may flow from that information - would not be admissible in a judicial or administrative proceeding.
Further, if the attorney takes the kind of action that you ask about, that attorney could be subject to discipline by the California State , up to and including risking his or her license to practice law.

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