Detroit, MI asked in Criminal Law and Legal Malpractice for Ohio

Q: If a person retains a lawyer for someone else, are THEY his client? Or is the Defendant his client? Who holds a-c priv?

My husband's mother retained a lawyer to represent him. We have asked the attorney repeatedly not to give details of the case to his mother. This lawyer has shared INTIMATE details of his case with his mother, even going so far as to show her the bodycam footage of the incident! He insists that since he was "retained" by his mother to represent him, SHE is his client and he is obligated to share all the details of the case with her! My husband is the DEFENDANT in this case! There is SO MUCH MORE I could get into about the depth of the unethical behavior that this "attorney" has displayed, but this is the biggest one. Doesnt that break attorney-client privilege? Should we report him to the Bar association? How do we get his pretrial moved (it is THIS WEEK!) in order to retain new counsel?? Would this qualify for a civil suit against him?

1 Lawyer Answer
Matthew Williams
Matthew Williams
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: Your husband has a attorney client privilege. Revealing information to his mother without his consent is a violation of that privilege. See Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct 1.6 and 1.8(f). Your husband, not you, not his mother, has the rights of the client which include the right to fire his attorney and seek new counsel. If that's what he, not you, not his mother, wants to do, he should fire him and inform the court, which will likely grant a continuance to allow him to obtain new counsel.

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