A lawyer-client privilege or Attorney-client privilege is a legal right given to the clients to never disclose confidential communication with the attorney to any other individual. This right encourages the client to discuss the case frankly with the attorney and seek some efficient advice to strengthen their case. The definition of lawyer-client privilege might vary in different courts and states. But the purpose of the privilege remains the same.
The motive for the lawyer-client privilege
If the opposite lawyer of your case knows the communication between you and your client, it could have a negative consequence on your case. So, it is your right to keep your communication confidential for a fair legal battle in court. Attorney-client privilege makes you feel safer sharing accurate information with the attorney, as it prevents them from testifying against you in court. A lawsuit can be very stressful, and trusting anyone blindly is not a good idea, but attorney-client privilege protects your rights and gives you some relief in dire situations.
Types of communication covered under attorney-client privilege
The protection right applies to any communication between the client and the attorney as below.
- In-person communication
- Communication via phone call or video call
- Text messages
- Responsive communication, like complete silence or an affirmative nod
You can hold any of the above communication between the client and attorney solely. Many prosecutors or victims worry that initial consultation with the attorney before appointing them is unprotected under attorney-client privilege. But it is a fallacy, as even if you are a prospective client, your rights will remain protected under attorney-client protection.
When attorney-client privilege is void
To ensure your information stays confidential with an attorney and your right is protected, you should only share it with your attorney. If you share critical information with any other individual, they can testify against you.
Your rights remain unprotected if any other individual is present during the conversation between the client and the attorney, even if they are on your side. But there is some information that you cannot protect under this privilege. For instance, if you submit publicly accessible records of taxes to your attorney, it does not make your tax records private.
Some exceptions to the attorney-client privilege
Your information is protected with your attorney until any of the following happens:
- Fiduciary duty
If the organizations’ stakeholders want to waive the attorney-client privilege, they can break it.
- Client’s demise
You can break the attorney-client privilege if there is a lawsuit between the legal heir of the deceased person and another party claiming under the descendent.
- Common interest exception
In a lawsuit, if a single lawyer represents two parties, no party can use the privilege against the other lawsuit.
These were some of the many exceptions to the attorney-client privilege. We will advise you to consult an attorney for better clarity of your privilege.
We hope this post has given you some crucial points of knowledge regarding your privilege. Seek a lawyer’s advice to better understand the attorney-client privilege, as it will make you feel safer.