Client files trashed

April 1, 2009
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In the course of their job, lawyers find out some pretty personal stuff about their clients. Information that I’m sure the clients want to remain confidential and protected. Imagine my surprise when I read a news article today about an attorney who threw old client files into the trash while moving. Discovered by a businessman who worked near the attorney’s office, the files contained personal information – Social Security numbers, financial records, and photos.

Here’s the kicker: the attorney said he didn’t know there was personal information in the files, but he left them there days after he was contacted by a reporter about the find.

Aren’t there rules about protecting lawyer-client privilege and client information? Not only was trashing the files a possible violation of that privilege, but it could lead to anyone grabbing a Social Security number or bank account number. Why wouldn’t you take a close look at what you were trashing? If you can’t examine those documents very carefully and pay attention to detail, then how much confidence can the attorney’s clients have in his representation of them?

If I hire an attorney and pay them a ton of money to represent me in a case, I expect they’ll protect my personal and confidential information. I hope none of the attorney’s current or former clients who had their files dumped become victims of identity theft because of this, and I also hope this is just another reminder to attorneys, and other professionals who have access to personal information, to do everything they can to keep that information confidential.
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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  5. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

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