Confidentiality Agreements Are Not Your Responsibility

Every so often I will get an email from a newer Administrative Consultant asking if I would add to our Success Store a confidentiality agreement intended to protect a client’s business interests.

I don’t have any plans to add this form to our store. The reason? Because it’s not any Administrative Consultant’s responsibility to provide legal services and agreements on the client’s behalf. You are only resonsible for taking care of your own business, just as clients are responsible for taking care of theirs.

If a client has business interests they want to protect through some form of non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement, it is their position, and their responsibility only, to seek out their own legal counsel and have any necessary documents drafted up to be presented to you or any other service provider.

I see a few reasons for this misguided thinking.

For one, I see many newcomers to the industry being given wrong advice by those who don’t have much legal understanding themselves.

Really, you will do yourself a great service if you stick to seeking your legal counsel from attorneys–not your colleagues.

For another, I think many are simply confused. What they’re really trying to do is provide clients with what I call “comfort” terms to help instill trust and rapport.

All you need in order to do that is a simple, authentically stated policy or values statement on your website (and maybe also a printable version) about your interests in maintaining client confidentiality and how you go about doing that in your practice.

Beyond that, you really don’t need to be taking on other business owners’ responsibilities nor signing more legally binding documents than you have to.

If a client needs something more, let them present you with their agreement; not the other way around.

It’s simply not your role to do so.

One Response

  1. Wow, why would a VA be responsible for the protection of intellectual property? Isn’t that what copyrights and trademarks are for. I guess the only thing I would think is that I’d want a blurb in my contract that says that I wouldn’t disclose proprietory information.

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