Re "Clients aren't a lawyer's secret," Opinion, May 1
Even Willie Mays dropped the ball sometimes. Likewise, my friend and former colleague Erwin Chemerinsky seriously misstates the law on attorneys' duty of confidentiality in his discussion of Carmen Trutanich's refusal to disclose his client list.
Chemerinsky states that "the identity of a client is generally not deemed confidential." That is the law of privilege, not confidentiality.
Though there is generally no privilege in a lawsuit to refuse to disclose client names if they are relevant, an attorney's duty of confidentiality is much broader, as both the American Bar Assn.'s Model Rules and the California attorney rules recognize.
Thus, courts have held that even some publicly available information is protected from voluntary disclosure by the attorney.
Moreover, plenty of clients seek legal advice -- as from a bankruptcy, divorce or criminal lawyer -- that never involves lawsuits or public disclosure, or they include in their attorney-client agreement a provision that the matter will not be disclosed unless required by law.
These clients are entitled to privacy in both their communications with attorneys and the fact of their representation.
Neither the curiosity of voters nor the desires of political opponents can override the privacy rights of those clients or the attorney's duty of confidentiality.
The writer is a law professor at USC who teaches professional responsibility.
Shouldn't everyone be afforded legal representation for accusations made against them, or their complaints against others?
A lawyer's prior representation cannot be a conflict until the nature of cases before the next city attorney is known. The time to examine conflicts and possibly recuse himself would only arise when a case is actually being considered.
It is impossible for any attorney with 34 years of experience not to have represented someone whose interests were at odds with City Hall.
If Jack Weiss' relationship with developers, lobbyists and billboard moguls who do business with the city doesn't disqualify him for candidacy, then how can former clients disqualify Trutanich?
Colleen Mason Heller