This is a great question, one we’ve learned sometimes stymies writers. Although lawyers aren’t known to have “bad intentions” in such real-life scenarios, just think of the complications and fun twists if one did in a fiction story.
Writer’s Question: I’ve read that PIs shouldn’t forward a client’s personal information to a civilian-client (versus an attorney-client). Does this mean that giving the info to an attorney is perfectly all right? Provided you’re working for one, of course. What if you suspect the attorney has personal involvement and, maybe, bad intentions?
Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes’s Answer: The fact that an attorney is licensed means that he/she answers to a higher authority (the attorney regulatory agency for that state). In addition to their responsibilities as citizens, attorneys have additional ethical responsibilities imposed on them by the agency. The regulatory rules governing attorneys generally require higher standards of conduct than those required by the laws on citizens in our society. For example, there are many regulatory rules that require lawyers to report misconduct of their fellow attorneys and sometimes even clients, whereas there are no such rules imposed on citizens. Therefore, an ill-intentioned lawyer is more likely to be discovered and punished than non-lawyers. Not to say there aren’t crooked or ill-intentioned lawyers who will break the law, but they’re risking their licenses and livelihood to do so, which makes chances slim that they’d act out “bad intentions.”
Have a great week, Writing PIs