When an attorney is considering handling a case, and receives off-the-record threats against his(/her) life, property, family, professional future, etc., is it ethical for the attorney to simply tell the prospective client that (s/)he has a conflict of interest of a confidential nature and can't take the case or explain any further details? After all, the attorney does have a conflict of interest in wishing to sustain what is threatened.
Suppose that the attorney though the client had a good case prior to the threats about what would happen to any attorney representing that client (e.g. from the opposing party or allies thereof).
Suppose also that the threats are made off the record and are quite convincing to the attorney, but the attorney cannot provide or publicize evidence proving the threats (and/or that the person making them is powerful enough that nobody would believe or act on such claims anyway).
Atticus Finch comes to mind but is a fictional role model and may or may not have any direct bearing on modern professional codes of legal ethics.