No to posting for brags: Leonen reminds lawyers about client confidentiality

December 29, 2022 - 2:54 PM
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“Bragging is not good lawyering.”

Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen aired a reminder to lawyers about client confidentiality on Twitter.

The magistrate on December 15 said that persons practicing law are “bound by the strictest confidentiality to [the] client.”

“Posting messages of clients, pleadings made for them, showing the documents being prepared, anything about the client et al is a violation of the atty [attorney]-client privilege,” Leonen tweeted, referring to social media posts.

Leonen’s tweet has earned over 2,100 likes as of this writing.

Last December 14, the Supreme Court aired a similar reminder to lawyers about the “attorney-client privilege.”

The high court said that posting communications with their clients on social media may result in a disbarment case.

Lawyers who make commentaries on pending cases were also warned that they should have respect for the officers of the court.

Leonen said that the high court has noticed social media posts from younger lawyers which include letters from clients who liked their work or pleadings that they will file.

“They are excited. I think many of us have posted on Twitter or [on] Facebook. That’s not [allowed] because [it] is Attorney-client privilege,” the justice said before.

Leonen stressed that it is “absolutely prohibited” for lawyers to post any communication from a client, including a text message thanking him or her.

“Maybe we need to preserve the confidentiality between us and our clients because once you post, you are actually opening to third parties your communication and that’s actionable,” he said.

“As we have mentioned before, what’s more important is to maintain the aura of justice rather than showing arrogance that they are smarter,” Leonen added.

The “attorney-client privilege” refers to the concept that lawyers cannot be compelled to reveal information given to them by their clients in confidence.

It precludes a lawyer from testifying against his client on certain matters.

The Code of Professional Responsibility notes that a lawyer shall keep his clients’ secrets except if the client has authorized him to release it, if it is required by law or if it is necessary to collect his fees or defend him, his employees or associates by judicial action.

It also said that a lawyer shall preserve the confidence and secrets of his client even after the attorney-client relationship has been terminated.

The Code of Professional Responsibility is considered the ultimate guide and basis of the Philippine legal system.