Legal Question in Legal Ethics in California

My neighbor is an attorney. Daily, he speaks to his clients on a speaker phone and we can clearly hear both sides of his conversation. He speaks so loudly that we can hear the conversation inside of our house when our windows are open. We have played loud music to try to dissuade him from speaking so loudly but to no avail. Do his conversations still have attorney/client privacy privilege even though we are privy to his every word?

Asked on 9/02/15, 6:48 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen

Your neighbor should know better. To protect his clients, he must maintain confidentiality in their communications. That is a requirement of California Business and Professions Code section 6068(e)(1) that states that it is the duty of an attorney "[t]o maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself or herself to preserve the secrets, of his or her client." This is a matter of important public policy. See In Re Jordan (1974) 12 Cal.3d 575, 580. Trust is necessary in the client-lawyer relationship and anything that violates that trust brings disrepute to the entire profession. If you see this attorney in the neighborhood, you might mention to him that you hear all of his client conversations and you'd think that, if you were to communicate with a lawyer, you wouldn't want the whole neighborhood to hear your business. Thank you for being concerned.

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Answered on 9/02/15, 11:24 pm

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