Duty of confidentiality

Beth and Ann
Beth was surprised to see Mac come through the doors of the large California law firm where Beth worked. Mac was a family friend who Beth had known for years. Just last month Beth had attended Mac’s mother’s funeral. Beth was a paralegal in the torts and personal injury department and she saw Mac going into Ann’s office. Ann was an estate planning attorney in the large firm. Beth again saw Mac as he was leaving, and said hello, but did not ask why Mac was at the law firm, or discuss anything else. Later in the day Beth visited Ann, and Beth told Ann that Beth knew Mac. Beth explained Beth’s relationship with Mac.
After that, Ann told Beth that Mac was planning to sue to set aside his mother’s will, which had left nearly all of the mother’s estate to Mac’s sister Sue, on the grounds his mother lacked the capacity to make a will. Ann went on to say the will did not seem fair, since Mac was such a good and loyal son to the mother.
At that point Beth said, “That is not really true. I understand that Mac generally ignored his mother for the past several years.” Beth then told Ann other interesting stories she had heard from her family about the relationships between Mac’s mother and both Mac and Sue.
Fully analyze and discuss the following numbered questions, explaining why or why not, in each case:
1. Did Beth violate the duty of confidentiality by discussing Mac’s situation with Ann?
2. Did Beth violate attorney client privilege by discussing Mac’s situation with Ann?
3. Did Ann violate the duty of confidentiality by discussing Mac’s case with Beth?
4. Did Ann violate attorney client privilege by discussing Mac’s case with Beth?
Analyze separately (chronologically and using the numbers above), after stating and defining the applicable rules, and justify all of your conclusions. Specify why, or why not, there were violations. Be sure to distinguish Beth and Ann, and also distinguish their confidentiality from attorney-client privilege obligations. Remember the Goals and Expectations.

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