Source: ABA Ethics Opinion provides guidance regarding client confidentiality when lawyer withdraws from representation for failure to pay fees | Lawyer Ethics Alert Blogs
AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION STANDING COMMITTEE ON ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY Formal Opinion 476 December 19, 2016 Confidentiality Issues when Moving to Withdraw for Nonpayment of Fees in Civil Litigation In moving to withdraw as counsel in a civil proceeding based on a client’s failure to pay fees, a lawyer must consider the duty of confidentiality under Rule 1.6 and seek to reconcile that duty with the court’s need for sufficient information upon which to rule on the motion. Similarly, in entertaining such a motion, a judge should consider the right of the movant’s client to confidentiality. This requires cooperation between lawyers and judges. If required by the court to support the motion with facts relating to the representation, a lawyer may, pursuant to Rule 1.6(b)(5), disclose only such confidential information as is reasonably necessary for the court to make an informed decision on the motion.