And the court in Lanum v. Patterson (1909) 151 Ill App 36, observed that this rule was not in contravention of sound public policy, but onthe contrary, tended to the maintenance of a higher standard of
professional ethics by preventing the relation of attorney and client from operating as a cloak for fraud.Communications of a client to an attorney are not privileged if they were a request for advice as to how to commit a fraud, it being in such a case not only the attorney's privilege, but his duty, to disclosethe facts to the court. Will v. Tornabells & Co. (1907) 3 Porto Rico Fed Rep 125. The court said: "We say this notwithstanding the comments of opposing counsel as to the indelicacy of his position because of his being now on the opposite side of the issue that arose as a consequence of the communication he testifies about, and is interested in the cause to the extent of a large contingent fee,as he confesses."The object of prohibiting the disclosure of confidential communications is to protect the client, and not to make the attorney an accomplice or permit him to aid in the commission of a crime. People vs. Petersen (1901) 60 App Div 118, NYS 941.The seal of personal confidence can never be used to cover a transaction which is in itself a crime. People v. Farmer (1909) 194 NY251, 87 NE 457.As to disclosing the identity of a client, 81 AM JUR 2d, Witnesses, § 410 and 411, pages 366-368, states:§ 410. Name or identity of client.Disclosure of a client's identity is necessary proof of the existence of the attorney-client relationship and is not privileged information. Thus, the attorney-client privilege is inapplicable even though the information was communicated confidentially to the attorney in his professional capacity and, in some cases, in spite of the fact that theattorney may have been sworn to secrecy, where an inquiry is directed to an attorney as to the name or identity of his client. This general rule applies in criminal cases, as well as in civil actions. Where an undisclosed client is a party to an action, the opposing party has a right to know with whom he is contending or who the real party in interest is, if not the nominal adversary.§ 411. Disclosure of identity of client as breach of confidentiality.The revelation of the identification of a client is not usually considered privileged, except where so much has been divulged with regard to to legal services rendered or the advice sought, that to reveal the client's name would be to disclose the whole relationship and confidential communications. However, even wherethe subject matter of the attorney-client relationship has already been revealed, the client's name has been deemed privileged.Where disclosure of the identity of a client might harm the client by being used against him under circumstances where there are no
countervailing factors, then the identity is protected by the attorney-client privilege.