Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Anonymous Gossip

No, this isn't another A.A. post, the Legal Profession blawg tips to this Indiana Disciplinary Case, In Re Anonymous.  Only slightly ironically, the Indiana Disciplinary authorities "privately" reprimanded an attorney who blew the confidentiality of a divorce client.  The disciplined attorney represented a company where the client was employed.  She sought his advice on locating a divorce attorney.  Subsequently he disclosed to third party that the client had divorced her husband, unaware that the couple had in fact reconciled.  The third party offered his sympathy to the client at a cocktail party, you can imagine her surprise.

Well in fact you don't need to, it resulted in this disciplinary case.

Uh, advice: maintain client confidences, don't gossip about client matters.

Gossip is idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. It forms one of the oldest and most common means of sharing alleged facts and views, but also gossip introduces errors and other variations into the information transmitted.  Gossip can harm, in fact it is often intended to harm.

The Blond Super Lawyer, has been a champ, through my career descent; and she has struggled mightily to maintain her corporate-based business and stay focused despite all the misfortune I've brought on us.  Recently she was at a professional retreat when a colleague shared some "painful gossip" the colleague heard from an attorney/competitor.  For me it's sort of funny, since at this point in my life, . . . what can you say about me that's really going to harm my reputation which hasn't already been publicly and officially said?

But the BSL, is an awesomely talented employment defense attorney.  The gossip about her was malicious, false, and apparently motivated by a not very charitable feelings by her competitor.  It was the "evil eye."  The BSL didn't deserve this "gossip."  Gossip of this sort hurts the person who transmits it, and the person who is the target of it.  Gossip demeans the dignity of the gossip and the person gossiped about.

I have tried to offer the consoling view that the BSL must be very threatening to her competitor since he and his supervisors feel motivated to encourage gossip about the BSL--but, more importantly the gossip-er, in question, is an attorney; do you want him entrusted with your confidences?  Me neither.


  1. BSL here: Thanks BadLawyer. Pulling knives out of my back is becoming second nature. I like the ones with pearl handles, thank you very much!

  2. BSL--

    Good for you, grab all those pear-handled knives maybe we can redeem them on my indebtedness?