Since I’m seeing quite a few of these notes from satisfied clients on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other places in various formats, it seems like a good time to share a touching one I received recently.
Thank you very much for the really great work and the successful outcome. I really appreciate you and all that you do. I’m sure I don’t even need to say this, but I’m certainly hopeful that you have the common sense not to try to publicly share my kind, private remarks to you about my case on any social media or anywhere else. I figure you probably know not to do this without my consent because … well, you have that obligation of client confidentiality under RPC 1.6 and posting this as some sort of “atta-boy pat-on-the-back” which is really just a kind-of-but-not-really-all-that-subtle effort at marketing and touting your excellent work and client satisfaction certainly isn’t something that would be impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation.
Plus, if you did that, it would be just kind of … I don’t know … crass (gauche?). The mere act of sharing it to crow is one thing I guess, but then the way social media works you’re just crying out for people to comment and say, yeah you’re great and your clients are lucky to have you, or to “like” it and provide you further validation which certainly wasn’t why I sent you this kind note. And even if the reason I’m so excited and grateful about your work is that the matter is over and now I’m just a former client, you still have confidentiality obligations to me under RPC 1.9 and if this had become generally known as would be necessary at that point, then you probably don’t need to do this because if you are going to get accolades they would come more naturally (right?), so, I mean, again. How about you just not with the sharing this?
I mean I guess you could try to strip down any information anyone might use from my message to you to be able to figure out who I am or what the matter was, (because remember the Comment to RPC 1.6 talks about how even disclosures that don’t directly disclose confidential information are prohibited if the disclosures “could reasonably lead to the discovery of such information by a thid person”) but once you’ve done that it truly becomes so impersonal that it doesn’t really have the impact you were hoping for, and depending on the format you use, it might even look like you’ve maybe just made the whole thing up.
And, if you don’t do something like that, then you really are placing my confidentiality rights at risk because maybe you did remove everything you needed to in order to protect anyone in your network or circle of connections from being able to figure out who it was that would have sent this, but maybe you didn’t. If you didn’t, I’m potentially not going to be very happy about that. Plus, you might in your introductory paragraph of your social meda “update” say something about time and place or circumstances that actually does — combined with this note — let the cat out of the bag.
So, anyway, thanks for getting me that extension of time. Sorry for being such a scold.
These are the kind of messages that make being a lawyer worth it all.