It is altogether amusing that clients place their secrets, confidences and private details of their lives into the hands of attorneys. It's time honored and seems to work very well. However, this is not absolute. The rules of professional responsibility are clear that where money is owed or there is a monetary dispute, the attorney client privilege is essentially gone. I know times are tough and when there is a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship, it is best that both parties attempt to part amicably. It does no one any good to bicker over what was done or not done. There are always multiple sides to every story and the world is seldom black and white. Moreover, when the attorney knows or has reason to know that there may be an ongoing and future crime occurring he or she has an affirmative duty to bring that to the attention to authorities. Thus, you cannot use an attorney as a shield.
Fortunately in my legal career that has not happened before. I usually have been able to reach amicable resolutions without being forced with my back against the wall. However, I certainly know that there may come a time when that may come up. I would hope that if that were to ever come up that the client would think long and hard about embarking on such conduct that could have devastating consequences for themselves, family and even business. Similarly, the attorney must only break the privilege only when absolutely forced to.