Bar News - July 21, 2006
New Hampshire RPC
Proposed Rule 1.6: Confidentiality of Information
(a) A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation, or the disclosure is permitted by paragraph (b).
(b) A lawyer may reveal such information to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary:
(1) to prevent reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm or to prevent the client from committing a criminal act that the lawyer believes is likely to result in substantial injury to the financial interest or property of another; or
(2) to secure legal advice about the lawyer’s compliance with these Rules; or
(3) to establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in controversy between the lawyer and the client, to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the lawyer based upon conduct in which the client was involved, or to respond to allegations in any proceeding concerning the lawyer’s representation of the client; or
(4) to comply with other law or a court order.
Comment to Proposed Rule 1.6
The New Hampshire Rule permits the disclosure of any criminal act involving death or bodily harm or substantial injury to the financial interest or property of another. Rule 1.6 should not be viewed as a departure from the general rule of client confidentiality, and should not be interpreted to encourage lawyers to disclose the confidences of their clients. The disclosure of client confidences is an extreme and irrevocable act. Hopefully, no New Hampshire lawyer will be subject to censure for either disclosing or failing to disclose client confidences, as the lawyer’s individual conscience may dictate.