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Should an attorney withhold information from me?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2021 | Legal Malpractice

You trust your attorney to give you all the assistance you need to navigate your case. It is important that your representative gives you all the information you need as your case progresses. Since your choices may make a crucial difference in the outcome of your case, the idea of your lawyer withholding information is nothing to take likely. 

In general, your attorney should not fail to tell you important information relating to your case. Still, as the American Bar Association explains, there are a few instances where an attorney might withhold information from a client. 

When withholding information is permissible

Sometimes an attorney has no choice but to keep information from a client. A judge may hand down a court order that forbids disclosing information or a rule of the court may not allow it. You might also explain to your attorney which proposals or settlements you will not accept and authorize the attorney to reject them without your input. 

There are also special circumstances when a client may experience behavioral problems or mental issues. If revealing information to you would cause you harm, an attorney may have justification for keeping quiet. For instance, if a doctor were to diagnose you with a mental disorder, the doctor might ask your attorney not to immediately disclose the information. 

When failing to disclose is not allowed

Except for the aforementioned circumstances, attorneys should be open with their clients and make every effort to explain what is going on in the case. This includes supplying information to help you understand how to best accomplish what you want in the case. Attorneys should also supply enough information for you to take part in discussions if you want to do so. 

Attorneys should never withhold information because it is more convenient to keep silent or because it furthers the interest of the attorney. Legal representatives also cannot conceal information to benefit another person. Failing to disclose information can lead you to make a poorly informed decision that derails your case. This may constitute legal malpractice.