ETHICS OPINION 217
NUMBER 217 1923
Question. In the opinion of the Committee may or should a lawyer, who has secured a postponement of legal proceedings on the ground that he is unable to ascertain the present whereabouts of his client, subsequently disclose to counsel for the adverse party, or to the Court, but without the consent of his client, either that he has learned the present address of his client, or what such address is, the client having communicated such knowledge to the lawyer in confidence?
Answer. In the opinion of the Committee, a client’s confidence (with certain exceptions such as the proposed commission of a crime) may not properly be disclosed by the lawyer without the client’s consent, but the lawyer, having obtained a favor of indulgence from the Court by asserted ignorance of his client’s whereabouts, cannot in good morals, after learning his client’s address, conceal the fact that he knows it and continue to benefit by his previously asserted and presumably continued ignorance.
Therefore, where such a situation of a continuing benefit exists, he should advise counsel for the adverse party, and in a proper case, the Court, that he now knows his client’s whereabouts, but that it has been disclosed to him in confidence.