At a conference on white-collar crime also addressed by Manhattan's chief federal prosecutor, New York's top state prosecutor urged business lawyers to tip off the government about possible legal violations: "You operate in a world where you may learn of facts that are appropriate for investigation, from scams directed at the public or the government, to wrongful conduct in the financial sector," state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, according to the New York Law Journal.

" We value any information or cooperation that you may provide to us."

It's not clear from the Journal's report whether Schneiderman was speaking specifically of the activities of the lawyers' own clients, but prosecutors have previously attempted to undermine the attorney-client privilege in the business context, and the Model Rules of Professional Conduct provide that lawyers may reveal their clients' information in order to prevent crimes .

Businesses themselves should come forward when they are hacking victims , despite the costs of publicity, argued Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the district including Manhattan, who suggested that cooperation between such businesses and the government should be "facilitated" by the companies' lawyers.

Bharara urged the lawyers to "operate on a higher plane" and "ask harder questions" in order to raise ethical standards in business. The Journal does not say whether he explained what he meant by that, but perhaps this profile of Bharara by Roger Donway gives some clue.

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