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Does an attorney have a duty to identify his client? If so,

Customer Question
Does an attorney have...

Does an attorney have a duty to identify his client? If so, what is the authority? Someone got a power of attorney over my mother and she wasn't there.

Lawyer's Assistant: Can you tell me what state this is in? And just to clarify, what paperwork has been filed?

California

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

Not yet.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Not before I get an answer to the first question.

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
12/13/2017
Lawyer: Ely, Counselor at Law replied 7 months ago
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 103,582
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. (You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by the website and you are under no obligation to accept.)

I am sorry, but the answer is no. In fact, the attorney owes his client a duty of confidentiality, and must not disclose the identity unless the client agrees to it, or, a legal pleading must be filed on behalf of the client.

As such, there is no such duty to disclose. However, the power of attorney must be shown to a third party when used, of course. So if possible, the third party can disclose the information to you (if they want to - they do not have to, either).

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I didn't mean that he identify the client to me or others, does he have to know who his client is and whether the client is who they say that they are and not someone pretending to be my mother?
Lawyer: Ely, Counselor at Law replied 7 months ago

Yes. The attorney has the duty to reasonably confirm that their client is not doing anything illegal (including faking an identity to get a POA). However, no steps on how to do so exist - the attorney simply has to use their due diligence and take reasonable steps. This can be found in CA Rules of Professional Conduct Chapter 5. See here:

www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/Conduct-Discipline/Rules/Rules-of-Professional-Conduct/Current-Rules

Kind Reminder: Please, use SEND button to keep chatting, or please rate positively and click SEND to submit your rating once satisfied. You may always ask follow ups at no charge before or after rating. "I STRIVE FOR FIVE!"

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

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