Note: This is another one of my fictional situations threads. I’m writing a work of serialized fiction and every now and then must needs ask for help from the smart gang here at the Dope. I am not asking for actual legal advice, and I know no one here is my attorney, and may not even really be an attorney. I just need verisimilitude.
So here’s the set up. A defense attorney (specializing in criminal law) goes to the hospital bedside of her best friend, a generally law-abiding citizen and all round mensch. Attorney character has no reason to believe her friend is involved in anything nefarious. Oh, and the attorney character has never acted as her friend’s actual attorney before.
Friend character, however, has a secret relating to how she got into said hospital, and it involves someone else’s crime. (Not directly perpetrated against her, and this other guy is also a protaganist who’s made an assload of mistakes.) Friend really really wants to protect this other person – whom I, as author, also need to protect from legal reprecussions. But she also needs legal advice badly, and also the support of her best friend.
Friend starts to tell the attorney character about her knowledge of a crime.
My question: does the attorney need to say anything specific to the friend before the attorney can be expected to treat the info as confidential? Where is the dividing line between a confidence told to a friend, and one told to an attorney… if this person is not your attorney?
Hope this makes sense…