If asked directly, if they represent a person, is an attorney required to answer yes or no? 66 Answers as of April 22, 2014

I had a person call and say they "were an attorney" and they were seeking information about a case my company has with an individual. I specifically asked the "attorney", are you an attorney, and do you represent this person in regards to this matter?" The person answered, "I am an attorney, and I don't have to disclose that information to you". Is this correct? I thought a "real attorney" had to disclose a professional relationship with a client if directly asked about it? Am I crazy here? Thanks in advance.

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Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
If you don't like the comments, hang up the phone.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/22/2014
Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny
Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny | Svetlana Boukhny
Have the attorney provide documentation that they are the attorney of record.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/19/2014
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
If it is a confidential matter, then they do not have to disclose representation. If they are in court for a person then their representation is a matter of record.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/5/2014
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Check the name of the "attorney" against the state bar records. We all have a number. What is the attorneys state bar number? You do not have to answer any questions without a formal deposition scheduled. At a minimum he or she should have sent a letter identifying the lawyer. Also, since it is a company involved, I'm not so sure the opposing side can talk to you. This might be an ethics violation. Contact your boss as soon as possible.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/5/2014
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
You are very wrong. An attorney has the responsibility to not disclose who his client is unless he has permission from that client to the differ.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 3/5/2014
    Law Office of Robert M. White, PLLC
    Law Office of Robert M. White, PLLC | Robert M. White
    An attorney in most states, including North Carolina, has a duty not to reveal information which has been obtained through the relationship between the client and him or herself. There are exceptions, which don't appear to apply in the circumstances you've mentioned, such as to prevent a client's commission of a crime or mitigating damaging that may be caused by a client's fraudulent activity. In the instance you describe, however, the attorney is not required to inform you of the identity of his client.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 3/5/2014
    Eranthe Law Firm
    Eranthe Law Firm | Cate Eranthe
    An attorney does not have to disclose an attorney-client relationship on the telephone. In fact it may be a breach of confidentiality depending on the situation. The call does sound a bit fishy since most attorneys would write you a letter if there was a case matter to discuss unless they were responding to your telephone call. I would insist on something in writing and have the company attorney deal with it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/5/2014
    John Russo | John Russo
    Your question is confusing so if you are asking for yourself i.e. an attorney contacted you for info in a divorce matter or accident or something just say so, because what you are alleging makes no sense. But in any event attorney's have two(2) options when seeking information on a matter that is in controversy i.e. already in some form of legal action. The first is through discovery seeking documents and answers to specific questions, that's done by written request for production, and interrogatories, the second is through our power to subpoena documents. We can request to speak to adverse witnesses also, but your question is too vague.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 3/5/2014
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    Ask him to write a letter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/5/2014
    GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
    GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
    There is no requirement that an attorney disclose who his client is, under most circumstances. You are right, it is very unusual for an attorney to call and not disclose who his client is. However, it can occur. However, you are under no obligation to answer any questions either.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 3/5/2014
    James M. Chandler | James M. Chandler
    I would contact your employer or their attorney and advise them of the situation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/5/2014
    Law Office of Jeffrey T. Reed | Jeffrey T. Reed
    The best thing to do is to refer him to your attorney. If you have an attorney for your case the opposing attorney is required to go through your attorney to get information. And there is certainly no obligation on your part to answer any questions from any attorney over the phone.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    WILLIAM L SANDERS, ATTORNEY AT LAW | William L. Sanders
    In many circumstances, the identify of a lawyer's client is confidential information, and may not be disclosed without the client's consent.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    An attorney has an ethical obligation to maintain his or client's confidentiality and that can include whether or not the client has engaged the attorney. In that case, the attorney doesn't need to disclose the name of the client. However, your situation sounds a little suspicious. If your company is involved in law suit with an individual, your company's attorney should be talking with the individual's attorney. Neither you nor the individual should be talking to anyone but your own attorneys. Should anyone claiming to be an attorney contact you again, tell the caller to contact your attorney and do not disclose any information to the person.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You have the right to remain silent. Only idiots open their mouths. Remember, no matter what you say it will be twisted around and used against you later.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    KEYL ADR Services, LLC | Mark D. Keyl
    I would not divulge any information over the phone.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Beaver Holt Sternlicht and Courie, P.A.
    Beaver Holt Sternlicht and Courie, P.A. | Mark A. Sternlicht
    The fact that an attorney represents a client may be confidential, and if so, the attorney is obligated to maintain the confidentiality.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Havens & Lichtenberg PLLC
    Havens & Lichtenberg PLLC | Michael Lichtenberg
    As most issues in the legal practice, this one has two sides. First, an attorney does not have to disclose whether s/he represents a particular party. This information can be deemed privileged, and there might be circumstances under which disclosing the very fact of attorney-client relationship can be a malpractice. But, at the same time, if a caller refuses to say what gives him/her any right to speak for a particular person or entity, you not only* can* refuse to continue the conversation - you *should* do so, otherwise, you run a serious risk of giving information to a person who should not have it. And remember: you do not have to talk to anyone if you do not wish to do so. Once someone says he/she is an attorney calling on behalf of a client, tell the caller to fax you a letter of representation on his/her law office's stationery. If you do not receive the fax, don't bother talking to that person again. If you do receive a letter of representation, forward it to your attorney. Because, take my word for it, you *really* do not want to discuss any matter with an attorney representing the other side ("anything you say can and will be used against you" in the most shamelessly unfair and word-twisting manner).
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Law Office of Kirk Buhler
    Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
    The relationship and the communication between an attorney and a client is covered under attorney client privilege. The attorney is required to provide their Bar registration number (if asked) so you can verify that they are an attorney and state(s) where they are licensed to practice law. They are not required to identify their client unless responding to a judge over the trial. Unless he is authorized by his client he might not be authorized to provide privileged information, like the name of his client.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    Yes they would need to disclose that and you should not answer any questions, especially on the phone.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Hoang & Tran PLLC | Adam Tran
    Ask the attorney to send over to you a letter of representation so that you know who he/she is.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Meister & McCracken Law Firm, PLLC | Joanne M. McCracken
    That is not a question with an exact answerall i can say is, it depends. If you have a company attorney, bring this to her or his attention because with litigation pending, there are rules governing when an attorney can directly contact the other party.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    An attorney does not necessarily have to disclose his client..however you do not have to talk to that attorney unless he sends you a legal subpoena for discovery An attorney cannot talk to you directly if you are on the other side of a case and represented by an attorney that is a violation of the Code of Professional Ethics.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    There is no legal requirement, but if you don't know who you are talking to don't give ANY information.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    It is a close call. Just tell him you won't answer until he tells you who he represents. You have no obligation to answer any questions unless it is in a deposition or at trial.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    A "real attorney" has an obligation to maintain client confidentiality and not tell any Tom, Dick or Harry who s/he represents unless the client has specifically authorized them to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    An attorney does not have to disclose anything to you. what makes you think so who, other than Obama goes around forcing people to do things they don't care to do?
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Hudson Bair | Hudson Bair
    I'm not sure the answer but you can ask for a letter of representation before speaking about litigation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Thomas Vogele & Associates, APC | Thomas A. Vogele
    There is no specific rule regarding an attorney's obligation to tell the truth, other than the Rules of Professional Conduct. I presume the person who called you is not an attorney, but if they call again, ask for their state bar number and look them up on http://www.calbar.ca.gov/ to see if they are what they say they are. I would refer everything related to this to your own attorney and let them sort it out. If you find out the person is not an attorney, you should report them to the state bar and the local bar association for engaging in the unlawful practice of law. Never believe anything you can't or don't verify, especially what someone tells you over the phone.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Vasilaros Legal,LLC
    Vasilaros Legal,LLC | Steven T. Vasilaros
    You have absolutely no obligation to disclose any information to a person who calls you and and simply states he is an attorney. In fact, if your company is involved in litigation, you should not share any information to anyone not specifically authorized by your attorneys. You should tell your attorneys about this call.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 3/3/2014
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If a person is really an attorney, they'll have an identifying number with the Oregon State Bar (this answer applies to Oregon). You can then check them out professionally at osbar.org. Oddly, if the client has asked that the lawyer keep his name confidential, then the lawyer can't tell you who he represents. However, I'm pretty sure that you can then refuse to answer any questions in other words, you don't give any information until they tell you who's asking. Your company should have legal representation, and you need to tell your company's attorney about this contact.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Depending upon the facts of the case, an attorney DOES NOT have to disclose that information.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S.
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S. | Wayne J. Wimer
    If the attorney refuses to answer your question, simply hang up on him or her. Just because the person is an attorney, that is no license to be rude.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Rosenberg & Press
    Rosenberg & Press | Max L. Rosenberg
    To my knowledge the attorney is not like a police officer and owes you no duty to confirm or deny representation.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    If the attorney does not represent the client, which I would ask to be confirmed in writing, then you have no obligation to provide any information regarding a case. In some situations, (such as if YOU were an attorney yourself), it would be an ethical violation for you to say anything. You are not obligated to provide "inside information" to any person who contacts you, attorney or not, unless it is in the context of a lawsuit and you are ordered to do so. If you feel this person is taking liberties, then you should retain an attorney to protect you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Pius Joseph A Professional Law Corp. | Pius Joseph
    There is no such affirmative obligation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Microtechnology Law & Analysis | Daniel Flamm
    To a first approximation, the opposite is true. Communications between an attorney and the attorney's client are confidential unless the client waives the privilege. There are, however, many exceptions. Since you did not mention having any exceptional legal relationship to the client or the client's attorney, the answer most likely is no.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Harper Law Offices, Inc. P.S.
    Harper Law Offices, Inc. P.S. | Joseph T. G. Harper
    If they don't disclose who they represent, I wouldn't talk with them. Furthermore, if you or your company is involved with litigation and represented by an attorney already, any other attorneys should never contact you but should go through your attorney directly. This is an ethical rule. If the person tries to contact you again instead of your attorney, let your attorney know right away.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    No the attorney does not have to disclose who he represents. Those are confidential matters.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    No, you are not crazy, but you are not correct either. An attorney cannot disclose that s/he represents someone based on "attorney client privilege".
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    If answering that question somehow violates client confidentiality then no the attorney does not have to answer that question.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr.
    Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr. | John F. Geraghty, Jr.
    That is a suspicious answer if they are seeking information from you this needs to be disclosed.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Barton Barton & Plotkin
    Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
    An attorney does not have to identify his client. In fact, in many cases it would be unethical for an attorney to identify his client.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    No an attorney does not necessarily need to disclose who they represent. It may be subject to the attorney client privilege. Call the State Bar if you have questions.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Hugan Law | Christopher Hugan
    An lawyer can violate ethical rules by disclosing the identity of their client. However, it is also unethical for a lawyer to act disinterested when communicating with an unrepresented adverse party. That is, a lawyer cannot remain silent about his role in the litigation when speaking to an opposing party. Sounds like the lawyer was trying to find potential witnesses. You can always decline to be interviewed.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    They are not obligated to respond to your question just as you are not obligated to respond to their question. If an attorney seeks to act on behalf of a client they must acknowledge the attorney client relationship.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Lawyer for Independent Media
    Lawyer for Independent Media | Sue Basko
    An attorney is not allowed to disclose who they are working for, unless they have that person's permission. Attorneys,for example, are not allowed to post a listing of their clients, unless each clients has given permission to be on the list. It is rarely in the client's best interest to have it revealed who their attorney is, and so the attorney should rarely ask to list such things. But, if an attorney is representing a person in a particular matter and if they are contacting an opposing party, then they should say who they are representing. But, this is not always the case and it depends what the situation is. For example, lawyers are allowed to act on someone's behalf and not reveal who they are working for, or even that they are working for anyone. This is often the case, especially in big real estate bargaining. However, if someone calls you for information and you are not satisfied that they have a right to know, you do not need to answer or give them any information at all. If a lawyer is representing a person and is going to discuss or negotiate on the person's behalf, they will let you know they are engaged to represent the person in that dealing. If there is a court case pending and a lawyer is officially representing a party, they will put their name on the court filings, and will often send letter saying whom they represent. Often, a lawyer may seek information on behalf of a client, but not want to reveal for whom they work. It is up to you to decide whether you wish to give such a person information. The one main thing a lawyer cannot do is lie and say they represent someone they do not represent. So if you ask a lawyer whom they represent in the matter, if anyone, the lawyer is not allowed to falsely name someone. But, they can refuse to answer, and you can refuse to discuss with them. However, in some locations, there are special rules about a lawyer acting as a real estate agent being allow to bluff certain things. To accurately answer your question, I would need all the details.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Law Office of Robert E McCall | Robert McCall
    Call the Florida Bar 1-800-235-8619.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    They don't" have" to disclose it, but they are not ethically prohibited from doing so except in a very rare circumstance. However, most attorneys would disclose this information as there should be no problem with it.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Diane l. Berger | Diane L. Berger
    The attorney does not have to disclose who he represents. You do not have to talk to the attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    Well, I don't think you are crazy, but I'm not sure about the rest of it. I do not understand why an attorney would not be willing to state whether or not he/she is representing someone and the name of the client, particularly if the attorney is seeking to obtain information from someone else. Finally, if your company "has a case with an individual" that suggests to me that your company has a lawyer involved, and that's who the individual's lawyer should be talking to (and so should you).
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
    If you are in a case with someone the. Your company's at likely has legal counsel. Other lawyers who are part of that legal proceeding should be contacting your company through your lawyer. This sounds to me as though it is someone else who is outside of the litigation. Just a guess, though. You can always refuse to speak to unknown parties about the matter at hand.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    LeadfootSpeedingTicket.com
    LeadfootSpeedingTicket.com | Andrea Storey Rogers
    No, an attorney can't violate the attorney-client privilege by disclosing to someone other than the court that he is representing that person.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Webb IP Law Group
    Webb IP Law Group | Jason P Webb
    Not always and sometimes they may even be restricted from telling you who they represent.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Law Office of Richard Winkler | Richard Winkler
    An attorney does not have to tell you the name of his or her client and, in some cases, is prohibited from doing so.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Fox & Fox, S.C. | Richard F. Rice
    An attorney is not always required to divulge the name of a client or if the attorney represents the client.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Law Offices of Grinberg and Segal
    Law Offices of Grinberg and Segal | Alexander Segal
    It really depends upon the context of the case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Mediation Services of Southwest Florida
    Mediation Services of Southwest Florida | Dennis J. Leffert, J.D.
    You are NOT required to answer any questions over the telephone, from any person whether or not they are an attorney. If it occurs again, ask the person for his/her State Bar number so you can look him/her up to verify he/she is an attorney. It sounds like you did the correct thing by not answering any questions.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Candiano Law Office
    Candiano Law Office | Charles J. Candiano
    An attorney has no obligation to tell you anything. If he does answer, he must not lie.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Law Offices of Eric W. I. Anglin
    Law Offices of Eric W. I. Anglin | Eric W. I. Anglin
    An attorney does not have to disclose the any information about a client or potential client's representation until it is necessary.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
    The identity of a client is usually considered to be confidential information - so the attorney was correct in not answering your question. Usually, it is only after the client grants permission to the lawyer to reveal the relationship - then the attorney is permitted to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC | Daniel A. Edelman
    The attorney is not obligated to disclose anything and you are not obligated to say anything. I suggest that you do not.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP
    Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP | Alan E. Ramos
    Generally, most attorneys will confirm representation. However, there are circumstances in which the representation of a client is confidential and cannot be disclosed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    They should disclose who they represent. You should have your attorney talk to them, you should not talk direct to that person.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/4/2014
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