As reported by InsideCounsel, the American Bar Association House of Delegates (“ABAHD”) recently approved an amended model rule stating that it is ethical for lawyers to disclose client information when trying to move from one firm to another.
Specifically, the rule states that it is ethical for an attorney in negotiations for a different job, as well as attorneys in merging firms, to disclose the identities of clients and the amount of business they generate because the information can help point out any conflicts of interest that might exist. However, the model rule states that lawyers still should not reveal clients' financial information.
Although the model rule has been approved by the ABAHD, the rule is simply an advisory rule. In addition, the rule provides little guidance for attorneys faced with the question of how much client information can be ethically revealed in states whose bar associations do not have rules covering this topic. Thus, prior to revealing any information, lawyers should carefully consider and weigh this model rule against Model Rules of Professional Conduct 1.6 and 1.9.