Singing Loudly: Cellular Phones and Professional Responsibility

Singing Loudly

Friday, September 23, 2005

Cellular Phones and Professional Responsibility

Perhaps someone in the blawging world is more knowledgable about this than I am. I have heard people saying that there have been cases coming down where talking to a client through your cell phone is sufficient (even if you are both in private locations) to destroy the attorney-client privilege. Is this truly the case?

The problem, as I see it, is that many of my friends who are criminal defense attorneys work out of their cell phone. They spend most of their day at the criminal court house going to hearings, making appearances, and meeting with their clients in the work rooms. In order to shed costs, they ditch the hanging a shingle up completely.

Instead of paying for an office and a secretary, they get a blackberry or a treo and use that phone to schedule, make to-do lists, carry contact information, and do everything that they could do with an office. Then at home they have a little office made out of a spare room where they keep the current files. Eveything else is put into storage.

They are screwed if they can't take client phone calls over their cell phones. Perhaps this is just a nasty room that isn't based in fact. Anyone know?


I have friends who attend NYU Law who are in constant debate over this issue.
Cell phones--what a mess.

By Blogger monilove, at 9:59 PM, September 25, 2005  

The key is 'reasonable expectation of privacy', right? You would think, and certainly argue that it is perfectly reasonable to expect privacy when both parties are talking in private locations. I think even restaurants count as private.

By Anonymous Alison, at 12:04 AM, September 26, 2005  

Just to elaborate on the central problem. The cell phone talker argues that she was in a private place. The other side says, "yes, but your call was picked up because it was broadcast through the air."

My rebuttal would be that the odds of that happening are very small. But then again, I don't really know anything about the technology behind intercepting otherwise private cell phone conversations.

By Blogger Curtis, at 12:19 AM, September 26, 2005  

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