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Karunungan, Allyana Beatrice A.


"The Lawyer: Obligated Beyond the Grave."

Does Attorney – Client privilege survives death? This is the main topic of the lecture and
also the case of Swidler and Berlin vs. United States. The judiciary is having a debate
on this matter if really the attorney – client privilege survives death. One counsel would
contend that the attorney – client privilege should not prevent the disclosure of
confidential communication and information when the client is dead if it is relevant to the
criminal proceeding. On the other hand there are some counsel who would say that
attorney – client privilege would survive even the death of one of the party specifically
the client. Justice Black said about this issue is very important he said that “…..knowing
that communication will remain confidential even after death serves a weighty interest in
encouraging a client to communicate fully and frankly to the counsel”.

I agree with what Justice Black said. The client will communicate and cooperate with his
or her counsel fully if the client knows that the said counsel will not disclose those said
information even after death. The client will also trust the counsel. The clients also fear
for his or her family and friends who he will leave behind that will be caught in the
middle of the case. In our country we have this code of professional responsibility that
lawyers need to abide and live by. Canon 15 Rule 15.02 states that a lawyer shall be
bound by the rule on privilege communication in respect of matters disclosed to him by
a prospective client. This is understood as any information told by the client must not be
disclosed by the lawyer and this also applies even after the death of the client. Death
does not dissolve this rule.