It is one thing to presume (as Martin v. MacDonald does) that a client tells his lawyer his own secrets about the matter for which he retains the lawyer. And then to stop the lawyer acting against his or her former client on a related matter. It is quite another thing to presume that a client tells his lawyer other people’s secrets unrelated to the retainer. And then to stop the lawyer acting against those other people. Does a lawyer acting for and advising a psychiatrist or a geologist on contract wording become incapable of ever acting against any patient or client of the psychiatrist or geologist? Surely not. Does a newspaper retaining a lawyer to advise it about what advertisements are defamatory or a breach of copyright, become a deemed recipient of the secrets of advertising rate negotiations and deals, and incapable of acting against all the newspaper’s advertisers? Surely not.
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