Question: A corporate associate mentions a merger she is working on to her husband. Her husband inadvertently refers to the deal over drinks with a friend. The friend has a material interest in the deal's closing. What are the ethical issues? What should the associate do now?

Should you confess if you spill the beans to your spouse?

Answer: Lawyers often face problems in their practices, and they often need to talk to someone-a spouse, lover, or friend. But a lawyer has a principal duty of confidentiality to the client. Strictly speaking, this associate violated her ethical duties under the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, requiring her to keep all client information confidential-even from a spouse (she can, of course, speak to other lawyers in her firm).