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Abstract

Analyzing Rule 1.6 of the Model Rules from a Jewish perspective can help solve some of the conflicts, which have arisen around this particular rule of professional responsibility. In sum, when a lawyer is faced with a potential crime that will likely seriously injury life, limb, or property, an attorney should disclose the information, which he believes will prevent this crime from occurring. While some sources of the confidentiality rule stem from the American legal system, others stem from more general ethical principles. Three such sources of the rule are: the attorney-client contract, the constitutional guarantees stemming from the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, and general ethical principles of the attorney-client relationship. Analogizing to Halakhah, or Jewish law, it is clear that Rule 1.6 has some serious flaws; the rule undervalues victims' rights, fails to distinguish properly between past and prospective crimes, arbitrarily distinguishes between permitted and mandatory disclosures, and fails to recognize that right to life and limb are more important than the right to counsel. Thus, the Rule should be amended to read: "A lawyer must reveal information to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes is necessary: (1) to prevent the client from committing a criminal act that the lawyer believes is likely to result in imminent death, substantial bodily harm, or significant infringement of property or privacy rights of a third person."

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