Ethics Committee Advisory Opinion #1988/9-19

Confidentiality:  Revealing Client Scheme to Defraud

April 6, 1989


A lawyer may reveal information relating to representation of a client without consent of the client in order to prevent the client from committing a criminal act that the lawyer believes is likely to result in death or bodily harm or substantial injury to the financial interest or property of another.  (Rule 1.6; Rule 1.6(b)(1)).

The New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct do not require nor allow a lawyer to disclose information relating to the representation of a client, where a criminal act has already occurred, such a criminal act is concluded and where the attorney is not in a position to prevent the client from committing a criminal act.  (Rule 1.6; Rule (b)(1)).


The inquiring attorney has requested an opinion from the Ethics Committee as to whether the attorney has a duty as a member of the Bar to assist the State in preventing what the attorney characterizes as a fraud perpetrated by the relocation service in that it is the inquiring attorney’s opinion that there were two “transactions” which should have each required the purchase of transfer tax stamps pursuant to RSA 78-B.

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