Attorney-Client Confidentiality: A Critical Analysis

15 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2017 Last revised: 9 May 2017

See all articles by William H. Simon

William H. Simon

Columbia University - Law School; Stanford University - Stanford Law School

Date Written: February 23, 2017


Attorney-client confidentiality doctrine is distinguished by its expansiveness and its rigid or categorical form. This brief essay argues that the rationales for these features are unpersuasive. It compares the “strong confidentiality” of current doctrine to a hypothetical narrower and more flexible “moderate confidentiality” and concludes that moderate confidentiality is more plausible. It is unlikely that current doctrine yields benefits that justify its costs.

Keywords: Attorney-Client Confidentiality, Confidentiality, Strong Confidentiality, Moderate Confidentiality

Suggested Citation

Simon, William H., Attorney-Client Confidentiality: A Critical Analysis (February 23, 2017). Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Forthcoming, Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 14-539, Available at SSRN:

William H. Simon (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
Jerome Greene Hall, Mailbox A-18
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-9215 (Phone)
212-854-7946 (Fax)

Stanford University - Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
(650) 723-4605 (Phone)

Do you want regular updates from SSRN on Twitter?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics