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Indiana Supreme Court Disbars Lawyer For Revealing Confidential Information In A Book

The case is captioned In the Matter of Joseph Stork Smith, 29S00-1201-D1-8.

The Indiana Supreme Court disbarred an attorney for “revealing confidential information relating to his representation of a former client by publishing the information in a book for personal gain.”  The lawyer also allegedly had a sexual relationship with the client. In the book, the lawyer revealed “such details as his negotiations regarding bail and plea agreements, conversations with a police detective, conversations with [client] pertaining to the charges and her incarceration, [client’s] mental and physical state, the source of funds for restitution, discussions about his fees, and personal thoughts about [client] and about the matters.”

The Indiana Supreme Court rejected the claim that the lawyer obtained the client’s consent before disclosing the confidences.  The Indiana Supreme Court was especially concerned that the confidential information was revealed for personal financial gain.  The main violation alleged was Rule 1.9(c)(1) and (2) which prohibit disclosures of information concerning former clients.

Edward X. Clinton, jr.

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