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Abstract

The confidentiality rule is important but not absolute. An attorney must weigh his obligations to his client against his obligations to the profession and to the community as a whole. Reasonable certainty of the existence of potential danger should create a duty to reveal client secrets, and thus, when an attorney learns of an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm to a third party from his client, disclosure should be mandatory. This type of limited exception would not interfere with the client's constitutional rights or with the orderly administration of justice. The policy behind such an exception, i.e. preserving human life, far outweighs the policy behind the confidentiality rule. If the mandatory disclosure rule were adopted, attorneys would not be viewed in such a negative light and, instead, the legal profession would be seen as one committed to the ultimate goal of any society--protecting human life.

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