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. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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