What Is The Attorney-Client Privilege?

a meeting between an attorney and a client

Perhaps you are the owner of a small business considering getting a lawyer. Someone sued your business, you’re deciding to sell your company or you find that your business accidentally broke the law. Being a small business owner is already difficult as is. Legal issues may cause everything to become more complicated.

The communication process with a lawyer seems new to you. There may be aspects of your business you want to keep confidential in the process but are unsure how to navigate with your potential lawyer. How much is appropriate to share? At Dan Burke Law, we would like to help you with this process. The term for this communication exchange between lawyer and client is called the “attorney-client privilege.”

What Is The Attorney-Client Privilege?

The attorney-client privilege is a rule that protects the confidentiality of communication exchange between a lawyer and a client. The “privilege” part of the term encourages clients to share information openly with their lawyers. Doing so will help the lawyer do their best to effectively present their clients.

When Does The Attorney-Client Privilege Apply?

This legal concept provides peace of mind to small business owners in numerous situations. The attorney-client privilege applies to a few circumstances, a few of which are:

  • The client speaks to the lawyer about legal advice.
  • The client intends for communication between themselves and the lawyer to remain confidential.
  • The lawyer is assisting the client in a professional capacity.

In general, a lawyer may not reveal any of their client’s confidential information to anyone without the client’s permission. This process includes written and verbal communication. The lawyer will need the client’s consent to reveal any confidential information to anyone outside the legal team. In a sense, the “privilege” is on the client’s side and not the other way around.

Are There Exceptions To Confidentiality?

Past acts of misbehavior are actually covered under the attorney-client privilege. For example, if you stole money or lied about following ethical small business practices, your lawyer will not be able to disclose this information to anyone without your consent.

On the flip side, if you tell your lawyer you plan to commit a crime or act of fraud in the future, your lawyer may be required to tell this information to the appropriate authorities. This protocol prevents future crimes and unlawful acts.

Also, keep in mind that the circumstances have to be appropriate for information to remain confidential. If you speak to your lawyer in public, although your lawyer may not repeat confidential information you share, anyone can overhear you.

Getting Connected With Your Lawyer

The attorney-client privilege rules and regulations vary by state and in federal court. When you speak with your lawyer, be sure to go over the attorney-client privilege and confidentiality. This rule will probably be brought up early in the discussion. It would be the opportunity to ask questions and acquire a deeper understanding of this concept.This process will ensure everyone is on the same page.

If you would like to speak to a lawyer, contact Dan Burke Law to discuss all the small business help you may need.


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