Before I went to law school, I spent a couple of years working as a “project assistant” at a major Chicago law firm. My fellow assistants and I were sent to a mandatory training that included a segment on client confidentiality. Over a quarter century later, I can still remember what we were told about it: never speak about the firms’ cases to outsiders and be exceptionally careful when discussing matters outside of the office. This included conversations between fellow employees while outside of the office. To emphasize the point, we were told the story about some associate attorneys who were discussing a case in a restaurant located in the office building lobby. Unbeknownst to them, legal counsel for the client company was sitting within earshot. The story did not have a happy ending.
With that in mind, you can imagine how flabbergasted I was to hear that two of the President’s lawyers had a heated conversation about the Mueller investigation while at the outside sidewalk dining area of a popular Washington D.C. steakhouse. A steakhouse that is on the same block as the N.Y. Times’ Washington office.
The resulting story “Trump Lawyers Clash Over How Much to Cooperate with Russia Inquiry” became a major scoop for the “Failing N.Y. Times” and a major embarrassment to the President’s lawyers.
So I hope that all the lawyers who read this blog will take this as a refresher about talking about your clients in public places. Save that for the office. There are plenty of other things to talk about, like when will Mitch Trubiskey get a start?