Independent, Licensed, and Loyal Counsel for High Net Worth Individuals
Patrick is a California licensed attorney in good standing and a member of the State Bar of California. With the privileges that come with California State Bar membership comes a serious legal obligation to abide by the California Rules of Professional Conduct and other codified ethical rules for lawyers. These rules impart specific legal duties and responsibilities on licensed attorneys designed to create specific benefits for clients that are unlike any other professional designation. Patrick takes these rules seriously. His livelihood depends on it.
The Duty of Loyalty
High-net-worth and high-profile households are often surrounded by teams of individuals, and non-attorney managers or agents with conflicted and/or collusive interests who are uninhibited by any formal ethical rules that govern their conduct.
As a result, many of these individuals leverage their influence over high net worth and high-profile individuals to solicit investment or recommend product purchases or services that result in undisclosed financial benefits or kickbacks to the person making the recommendation. This happens regularly and creates a host of negative consequences for the client, which range from negligible problems, like overpaying for a product or service; to severe problems, like losing substantial sums to illegitimate business ventures. Those in a position to engage in this exploitative conduct typically have nothing to deter them beyond the reputational risk associated with a client finding out about an undisclosed benefit.
Patrick, as a licensed California attorney, owes a legal duty of loyalty to his clients. The California State Bar describes the importance of this duty in its commentary to Rule 1.7 of the Rules of Professional Conduct:
Loyalty and independent judgment are essential elements in the lawyer’s relationship to a client. The duty of undivided loyalty to a current client prohibits undertaking representation directly adverse to that client without that client’s informed written consent.
Absent written approval from the client, a lawyer who receives a benefit at the expense of his ability to competently represent his client’s interests, directly violates the Rules of Professional Conduct and violates the attorney’s duty of loyalty he owes his client. Such a violation can result in serious consequences.
Accordingly, Patrick’s reputation coupled with the legal duty of loyalty he owes his clients, gives invaluable assurance—unavailable to non-attorney advisors, agents, or managers—of his commitment to act in his clients’ best interests, and not his own.
Duty of Confidentiality and the Attorney-Client Privilege
The California ethical rules for lawyers impart a duty of confidentiality on attorneys that corresponds with the attorney-client privilege, which prevents the disclosure of confidential communications with clients, and precludes such communications from being admitted into evidence in a formal legal proceeding.
The California Rules of Professional Conduct; the California Business and Professions Code; and the California Rules of Evidence govern an attorney’s duty of confidentiality and the attorney-client privilege. The commentary to Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6 spells out plainly what that the duty of confidentiality means:
It is a duty of a lawyer: ‘To maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself or herself to preserve the secrets of his or her client.’
The importance of the duty of confidentiality and the attorney-client privilege cannot be understated. Prospective clients often do not appreciate the significance of the duty of confidentiality and the attorney-client privilege, and if they do, they often only think of its applicability in the context of a civil lawsuit or criminal prosecution.
But the duty of confidentiality and the corresponding attorney-client privilege carries far greater weight and applies (with few exceptions) to any attorney-client communication.
For high net-worth and high-profile individuals who are faced with decisions concerning endless categories of subjects ranging from the mundane, to the complex, to the embarrassing, the value and ability to have counsel at their disposal to have open and candid discussions and ongoing communications—the contents of which the lawyer is legally bound to keep confidential—cannot be understated.
We understand that the duty of confidentiality is a powerful tool for our clients, which provides them with a safe environment to candidly seek counsel on virtually any subject without fear of the contents of that discussion being made public, admitted into evidence at a legal proceeding, or otherwise misappropriated.