In August 2001, the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association (ABA) voted in favor of a revision to the duty of confidentiality contained in the ABA's Model Rules of Professional Conduct, a set of ethics rules that has been adopted in some form by over forty states. Specifically, the House voted to broaden the exception in Model Rule 1.6 that permits a lawyer to reveal confidential information of the client to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes
necessary to prevent likely death or substantial bodily harrn.
uncertain whether that vote will have any effect on the duty of
confidentiality in California. This is because California, which has not
adopted the Model Rules, has the strictest duty of confidentiality of any
state: it is the duty of every lawyer "[t]o maintain inviolate the
confidence, and at every peril to himself or herself to preserve the
secrets, of his or her client." express exceptions to its duty of confidentiality.
Kevin E. Mohr,
California's Duty of Confidentiality: Is It Time for a Life-Threatening Criminal Act Exception?,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol39/iss2/3