Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Suh-Young Shin


The duty of confidentiality is fundamental for the relationship between an attorney and the client. How and when the duty of confidentiality should be enforced upon an attorney has been debated in Korea, after a former in-house counsel of Samsung Group publicly disclosed that the chairman of Samsung allegedly engaged in illegal conduct. Relevant rules from the Korean Bar Association Code of Ethics and Conduct are not specific enough to allow one to assess the act of the former in-house counsel. This note analyzes the issue first under the Korean rules, and then under the relevant U.S. rules. While acknowledging the fact that direct adoption of a foreign set of rules would not be an effective way to deal with the domestic legal system, it would still be a useful exercise to compare the U.S. rules of professional conduct to the Korean counterpart in order to get a sense of what an appropriate standard should be for the duty of confidentiality for attorneys with an organization as a client.