Unethical Settlement Secrets: Just Say No By Patrick Malone and Jon Bauer

"Defendants often convince plaintiffs to agree to secrecy clauses in settlements, but their implications extend far beyond the parties involved."

Attorneys for injury victims are all too familiar with defendants' demands for blanket secrecy as a sine qua non for settlement. The confidentiality provisions that defense lawyers insist on often go well beyond keeping the amount and terms of the settlement secret; they also require the plaintiff and his or her lawyer to keep silent about the facts underlying the case. Pressured by powerful defendants and working with clients exhausted by litigation, many plaintiff attorneys believe they have no choice but to agree.

But most jurisdictions' ethics rules provide strong grounds for resisting such secrecy clauses.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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