Shameless Self-Promotion and Client Confidentiality

By Jennifer Gardner

I am disgusted by how some lawyers use their celebrity clients to shine the spotlight on their own careers.  Even more appalling is when they breach client confidentiality by indiscreetly mouthing off to the media about a client or former client.

Case in point:  Chicago lawyer Stuart V. Goldberg who rumor has it was or almost was Lindsay Lohan’s attorney for about five minutes this week.   Was he hired, was he fired or did he resign?  It makes no difference, at least in the state of California where as soon as a client consults an attorney for legal advice, the duty of confidentiality attaches to all communications.  This would make Goldberg’s ramblings to People Magazine about how he thinks Lindsay is a “lost child….who doesn’t understand adult consequences” or fully grasp “what is going to befall her…..” not simply inappropriate editorializing and prognostication, but a severe breach of that duty.   I think the duty of confidentiality even extends to whether a client fully comprehends the heap of trouble she finds herself in, especially in Lindsay’s case where she has been accused of violating the terms of her probation.  Consciousness of guilt and remorsefulness are very much at issue in this type of a situation.  Opining about whether a client (or even an “almost” client) is sufficiently aware of what they are doing or not, and whether they feel bad about it or not, is clearly wrong.    Mr. Goldberg had the nerve to tell the media that he required 100% loyalty from Lindsay, but he did not return the favor when he thoughtlessly addressed the media in this way. Often, being a good lawyer includes knowing when to keep your big mouth shut.

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