- Mar 2013
- Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
Could she? Well, since he's been convicted, he's "did it" as a matter of law. Are you talking about revealing confidential communications, or stating an opinion?OK hypothetical here. Suppose you have someone convicted of a crime. Can his lawyer then go on tv and say "He totally did it."
You should also remember that, in Clinton's case, not only is the case almost certainly outside the statute of limitations, such that it couldn't be used against the former client on grounds of subject-matter jurisdiction, but because of the evidentiary rule for attorney-client privilege the statement wouldn't be usable anyway even if inside the statute of limitations.
She is bound by the duty of confidentiality whether she still practices or not, even if she no longer is admitted to practice law (e.g., she let her membership lapse due to not practicing anymore). But offering an opinion does not violate the ethical rules.But she was a lawyer when she gave the interview. I think it's fair to expect someone to abide the ethical rules of a profession while they are practicing it and fair for people to judge their character afterwards by how well they maintained those ethics.
The ethical rule of confidentiality, and the evidentiary rule of attorney-client privilege, are designed so the client will do so, yes. But that doesn't mean they're going to do so. And there are times when those rules may not apply, anyway, though they are quite few.I understand the difference between legal and factual guilt. But if you ask a client something, don't you need them to answer openly and honestly?
But remember ... she did not divulge any confidential communications; she only offered an opinion. It may not seem different to you, but as a legal and ethical matter it makes a huge difference.