What is the attorney-client privilege?

a meeting between an attorney and a client

Honesty and confidentiality are two of the most important words in regards to one’s relationship with their attorney. The attorney-client privilege is to law as HIPPA is to the medical field. Both are in place to protect and respect the privacy of clients and patients. Attorney-client privilege is a legal privilege that keeps communications, both oral and written, between a client and his or her attorney confidential.

Confidentiality

It is important for a client to be completely transparent and forthright with their attorney so they possess everything they need to build the best case possible. The attorney-client privilege allows the client to share all information with their attorney with affirmation that the information cannot be shared outside of the legal team without the client’s consent. It also prevents the attorney from being forced to testify about the information their client has shared.

Waiving Attorney-Client Privilege

The client possesses the ability to waive the privilege and allow the information to be shared – but the attorney does not. In the event that the attorney-client relationship ends or the client passes away, the privilege continues to take precedent unless waived by an executive exception. The attorney-client privilege begins during preliminary communications as well as after an attorney is retained. This means discussions with an attorney before they have decided to represent a client have just as much privilege to privacy as conversations held after retainment.

Client Responsibility

The client is responsible for ensuring confidential conversations are kept private and secret. Although the attorney is not allowed to repeat the confidential information, this does not prevent a third party from being present in the meeting or overhearing the conversation if held in a public place.

Exception

The only exception to the attorney-client privilege is in the event the client expresses a plan to commit a crime that could injure another person. In this instance, the client loses their privilege and the attorney has the legal obligation to alert authorities.

Honesty and trust are necessary for an attorney to know everything they need that will assist a client’s case. As long as the client does not share information with outsiders that could potentially affect the case, attorney-client privilege allows them to share any and all information with their attorney that cannot be used against them. Contact us at Dan Burke Attorney at Law for more information or to discuss your need for representation.

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