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Much of what you say то your attorney is privileged, but not nearly everything

The right of the attorney-client is a concept that protects the secrecy of lawyer-client correspondence. Under that provision, lawyers should not reveal the secrets of their customers, nor may anyone force them to. The privilege’s aim is to enable clients to exchange details with their lawyers freely and to empower lawyers to have successful counsel.

Privilege of the attorney-customer right usually applies when:

  • An real or prospective consumer meets with a lawyer for legal advice

  • The prosecutor works in a legal capacity (rather than as a friend, for instance)

  • The customer meant the messages to be confidential and behaved accordingly

Lawyers do not report oral or written messages that consumers fairly intend to stay confidential with customers. Without the client’s permission, a prosecutor who has obtained a client’s rights can not repeat them to someone outside the legal staff. The client may opt to surrender (or waive) the right, but the prosecutor can not. In that way, the privilege is the client’s, not the lawyer’s.

Even after the attorney-client partnership ends, and even after the client dies, the right usually remains in place. In other terms, without the consent of the client, the counsel should never divulge the secrets of the client, unless some kind of exception occurs.



Comparison: The Duty of Confidentiality

Strictly speaking, the attorney-customer right is a law of fact. This prohibits attorneys from testifying to, and being asked to comment to, the claims of their employers. Regardless of the right, attorneys still owe an obligation of secrecy to their clients. This obligation forbids attorneys from even sharing details relating to the cases of their clients with others informally. Almost all information relating to customer representation must be kept confidential, even though the information does not come from the customer.



Confidentiality pending

Lawyer-client communications are only protected by the attorney-client privilege where the terms are private. For starters, clients who talk to their attorneys about pending cases in private, with no one else around, can fairly demand confidentiality. If anyone were to film the exchange surreptitiously, the recording would possibly be inadmissible in court.

But it will not be possible for a client who talks to a prosecutor in public to prohibit someone who overheard the exchange from testifying about it. Similarly, by repeating a conversation with an attorney to someone else, or making a third party present during a conversation with the counsel, a client may lose the attorney-client privilege. However, regardless of who knows or reads of a correspondence, the counsel generally is bound not to repeat it.



Actual Clients only?

The attorney-client privilege is usually immune to preliminary interactions between a prospective client and a lawyer. Which ensures that even though the lawyers never engage defending them, lawyers will not disclose what potential customers reveal in trust. To be sure, however, before you share something you wish to keep confidential, you can check with a prospective counsel that the privilege exists.



Misbehavior History and Potential Crimes

The attorney-client right is usually immune to discussions of prior actions. For example, if a client tells his lawyer that he robbed a bank or lied during a divorce about money, the lawyer will not be able to reveal the facts.

But the attorney-client privilege usually does not extend if a client initiates a contact with a lawyer for the intent of committing a felony or an act of fraud in the future. Similarly, most jurisdictions allow lawyers to share details obtained by a client that can avert death or serious harm, or warrant it. Some have a similar law that it can avoid or redress financial harm related to a crime or theft to share otherwise sensitive information.



Speak with a attorney

The right of attorney-client varies somewhat from state to state, and from state to federal court. Be sure to go into the nature of the attorney-client privilege and the promise of secrecy when talking to an attorney about a legal matter. The lawyer should be able to clarify, including applicable legal rules not listed in this document, the particular law that relates to your case.