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Friday News: Rowling’s lawyer is revealed as the loose lipped douchebag;...

Guess what? You don’t gossip about your client’s private business, ever.  That’s an ethical violation, bad business, a breach of fiduciary duty and just all around douchebaggery. Is this something you share with your wife’s BFF? Only if you are sleeping with her because a man who doesn’t believe in loyalty and fidelity is the kind of lawyer who leaks his client’s business.  

Rowling said she is beyond disappointed and into anger. Hopefully the lawyer is punished. No doubt the firm itself will lose business because who is going to trust a firm who can’t keep your secrets? No one, that’s who.  NYTimes.com

“Among fiction fans, thriller and suspense fans are the most obsessed of all–telling us they primarily read authors they know and love most, to the exclusion of trying new writers,” Peter emailed me. The debuts “have the greatest challenge trying to reach a new audience that simply isn’t interested in reading unknown authors.”

Romance readers are “more open to new voices,” Peter explains. Of the number of books bought last year by fans of the thriller genre, 19 percent were written by unfamiliar authors–but when looking at fans’ purchases of erotic romance, a whopping 45 percent were penned by new authors.

“Fans read their favorite category to satisfy different needs,” Peter says. “My personal view: thriller fans want guaranteed, consistent entertainment with minimal risk of disappointment–romance readers want new experiences, to experiment and take risks.”

In his book, Rocket Girl, George D Morgan tells the story of his mother’s journey from North Dakota farm girl to brilliant scientist whose obscure, yet crucial, contributions to the development of a new rocket fuel powered the country’s first satellite, Explorer 1. Mr Morgan spoke to the BBC about his mother’s lost legacy and the complex nature of fame.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

25 Comments

  1. Charlie
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 05:56:28

    Yes, that’s quite a big mistake when your chances of getting future cases includes being trustworthy.

    I recently I finished a thriller and knew that if I was to read another, soon, I wanted to read one just like it. Romance, on the other hand, I’ll take chances and read different authors. My preference for historical romance isn’t anywhere near as make-or-break as my liking for fast-paced filler-less thriller. It makes a lot of sense.

  2. Rosario
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 06:58:36

    Guess what? You don’t gossip about your client’s private business, ever.

    Exactly. The solicitors’ statement includes the following: “Whilst accepting his own culpability, the disclosure was made in confidence to someone he trusted implicitly”. Why is this even relevant?

    BTW, I’m listening to the audiobook of The Cuckoo’s Calling and so far it’s really, really good.

  3. Mary Anne Graham
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 07:09:58

    As a lawyer, I’m appalled at the ethical lapse of Ms. Rowling’s attorney. As a romance author, I’m proud that readers of the genre keep their minds as open as their hearts.

    More than any other genre, romance fans pushed the evolution of digital reading and self publishing. Their quest for new voices created an industry.

    I hope that romance fans talk more and lawyers talk less. More love and less law sounds like a recipe for happiness all around, doesn’t it?

  4. Cheryl McInnis
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 07:22:04

    My first thought was that he (the douchebag) must be sleeping with the BFF, too! If so, I hope he gets fired and his wife kicks him to the curb. Yesterday at work, I took about 20 patron requests for the Cuckoo’s Calling. I’m looking forward to reading it myself.

  5. Rosario
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 07:54:43

    Now that she’s been unmasked, I wouldn’t discount Rowling deciding to publish under yet another pseudonym. So maybe in about a year we’ll all be madly trying new crime authors in case they’re actually her? Enterprising debut authors might even create fake twitter accounts and ‘leak’ that they are.

  6. DB Cooper
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 08:20:56

    Woah. What a change (I think).

    I read the news yesterday on BBC’s site, and I could have sworn then that the report was he told his wife, and his wife then told her BFF.

    Not that it makes a difference in terms of breach of duty and loss of confidence, but it does raise a few extra eyebrows on the side now. :D

  7. pooks
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 09:00:36

    Some are waiting to see if she leaves/sues attorney before believing that story, but I believe it. I don’t think she cares enough about selling lots of books to out herself just to get those new sales. Her publisher? Well, possibly.

    As for romance readers taking risks–yes, the HEA is guaranteed, which lessens the risk. But romance readers have lots and lots of options for cheap or free, which may also tilt the scale.

    pooks/aka patricia burroughs

  8. Susan Reader
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 09:01:11

    I encourage all those conservative thriller readers (and everybody else) give “Cuckoo’s Calling” a try. It’s quite good.

    At one point in the book, there is a discussion of trust–when you’re famous, who can you trust to keep your secrets secret? Must be rather more poignant, now.

  9. Helen
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 09:51:04

    As my husband pointed out the article includes this:

    “It said that while Gossage was culpable, “the disclosure was made in confidence to someone he trusted implicitly.” ”

    Not like himself.

    I would hope that there is some professional censure of him.

  10. Moriah Jovan
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 10:03:26

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who thought the lawyer was banging the wife’s BFF, because I could only think of one reason the news would have bypassed the wife and gone straight to the BFF.

  11. Kierney Scott
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 14:02:48

    When I read the article, I assumed the lawyer told his wife who told her best friend and the husband was trying to be noble by taking the blame. Maybe?

    Of course violating confidentiality was all sorts of wrong, I would never defend this, but I think it happens a lot. My husband tells me everything about his work, even confidential things, because I am his wife and that is what married people do IMO. That is one of the beautiful things about marriage; you have someone you can tell everything. But that person needs to respect that and keep it quiet.

  12. Tatty
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 14:04:46

    The whole the lawyer, the wife and the wife’s best friend thing now has me wondering if JK Rowling ended up as collateral damage in a situation where one party in an affair was trying to force the other to go public. Idle speculation I know, but as others have commented, why divulge client privilege information to the friend of your spouse? And there was I convinced it had been nothing more than a cynical marketing ploy.

  13. Lynnd
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 14:09:23

    Lawyers’ duty of confidentiality means that a lawyer cannot talk about his/her clients with anyone (except other lawyers and staff who are working on the file and who are bound by the same rules respecting confidentiality). That confidentiality is at the heart of solicitor-client privilege which is fundamental to justice. As a lawyer, I walk past clients in a public place without saying a word to them because I do not want to violate their confidentiality – if they say something to me, that’s their choice, not mine.

    Thanks for the rocket scientist story. I hope that the stories of more of our pioneering women scientists will be forthcoming.

  14. Moriah Jovan
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 14:10:57

    @Kierney Scott:

    My husband tells me everything about his work, even confidential things, because I am his wife and that is what married people do IMO.

    Erm…nooooooooooo. Married people should only share the confidences they can share. If my husband has made a commitment to NOT share something with me, he better damn well NOT share it with me. The greater good of the family, i.e., his paycheck that pays the mortgage because his clients can trust him to keep his mouth shut, comes before my need to know or his need to share all the juicy details.

  15. farmwifetwo
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 15:22:18

    Need to add my voice to a the ‘some secrets are not your business’. My dh has a number of ‘extra’s’ as I call them and I’ve made a point of preferring not to know. It’s the trade off for the per diems.

    I remember the rocket scientist in the news. Her family had the obit pulled from the newspapers because it mentioned her stroganoff and not her work. The public wasn’t impressed. Personally it wasn’t the publics business.

  16. farmwifetwo
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 15:25:50

    Forgot to add that lately they aren’t even allowed to use your full name at a medical clinic or hospital. Privacy concerns.

  17. Janet W
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 15:26:08

    Nodding in agreement with Moriah Jovan — what if you were married to a minister? He/she must be the recipient of so much confidential information — should they be bringing those stories home? Same with a psychiatrist/psychologist/social worker … the list of occupations is endless but the same principle applies.

    All the anonymous groups are predicated on confidentiality, isn’t the expression “What you see here/say here stays here”? Rowling paid and I’m sure she paid big time for professionalism — I wonder what the consequences will be to the law firm and the lawyer?

  18. CG
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 15:41:57

    That was Yvonne Brill, not Mary Sherman Morgan and seeing as how it was published in the NY Times and written by a staff writer I can’t see how leading with a woman’s culinary accomplishments rather than her brilliant contributions to rocket science aren’t the publics business.

  19. azteclady
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 16:29:55

    I’m either more naive or even more cynical than I thought, but I’m still waiting–if Rowlings sues, I’ll believe it was leaked because the lawyer is a randy ass whose lover lead him by the dick. Otherwise, I’ll go with marketing ploy by the publisher.

    And absolutely what Moriah Jovan said. Confidential should mean that, period.

  20. pooks
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 16:32:02

    Couldn’t the spouse or partner of an attorney or clergyperson be called to testify and be questioned if there was reason to believe the person with privilege had shared confidential information with them?

  21. Susan
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 22:40:14

    There are a lot of jobs where confidentiality is a legal and/or ethical requirement. That’s non-negotiable. Period. If it came out that someone was talking inappropriately, they could lose their professional credentials, security clearance, job. They could face possible criminal or civil charges. Plus, it’s just wrong, even if it was never made public. Why would you want someone to tell you things you know they’re not supposed to? How could you respect that?

  22. Anj
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 23:34:51

    Is it just speculation that the wife’s BFF was the lawyer’s lover? Maybe the wife had her friend over to the house for dinner when the lawyer came home from work and had to share the juicy gossip. Still wrong but no infidelity.

    And I would hope no one expects their husband to share confidential information. How could I trust a man who demonstrates he’s unworthy of trust?

  23. jmc
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 15:21:59

    And among the CLE/professional development emails sent out by the ABA today: leaks of confidiential client information and how to deal with the aftermath. I’m assuming the timing of the class is coincidental, given how long it takes faculty and material organized but it still seems pretty timely.

  24. Rosario
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 00:19:31

    So, I’m still reading (it’s great, but I’m listening to the audiobook, so it’s going slower than reading the text), and there’s a point where the wife of a partner in a law firm reveals some confidential information to the main character, and a point is made of how this is not right.

  25. azteclady
    Aug 01, 2013 @ 00:22:05

    I admit to being wrong–Rowlings did sue the lawyers. The suit was settled (undisclosed amount, of course) and the law firm will donate to a veteran soldiers charity.

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