On August 9, 2011, the National Law Journal published an opinion piece by Lynne Bernabei and Alan Kabat, “The SEC properly expanded protection for attorney whistleblowers” which discussed how the SEC’s new regulations for the Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims will allow employees, including attorneys, to report financial misconduct by their corporate employers, even if it is necessary to disclose privileged or confidential information in order to prove their claims.

“These exceptions serve the public interest by ensuring that the attorney-client privilege is not used to shield financial misconduct,” say Bernabei and Kabat in the article.

For attorneys, it’s important to note that Dodd-Frank does not protect against disclosing past crimes in which the attorney was not involved.

In many circumstances, the SEC’s regulations will trump the more restrictive approach taken by the state bar rules of professional conduct in order to allow an attorney to be a securities whistleblower.