Confidentiality Norms and Government Lawyers
Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law
June 1, 2008
Washington University Law Review, Vol. 85, No. 5, 2008
Washington U. School of Law Working Paper No. 08-08-02
This article addresses the confidentiality obligations of government lawyers. It examines the rather complex question of the identity of a government lawyer's client. On the specific issue of confidentiality, the article discusses how several legal doctrines impact the confidentiality duty: open government laws, statutes encouraging whistleblowing by government employees, and common law doctrines regarding the disclosure of government wrongdoing. These doctrines suggest that, as a substantive matter, government lawyers may disclose information that is subject to mandatory disclosure under freedom of information laws and information regarding government wrongdoing. But as a procedural matter, state supreme courts and governments need to establish procedures for government lawyers to follow in disclosing this information.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 68
Keywords: lawyers, public law, ethics
JEL Classification: K39, K40, K42
Date posted: July 3, 2008
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