But what is the right of a attorney- client? What makes a lawyer’s relationship with a client different from other professional relationships?
An attorney-client relationship can take place in one of two ways: directly (meaning that the attorney and client have reached a formal representation agreement) or indirectly (meaning that the attorney and client have reached a formal representation agreement) (meaning the client reasonably believes that the attorney is providing legal representation, even if there is no written contract). With the execution of a written agreement or the formal meeting of the minds of the attorney and the client, an express relationship is clearly established. But, if in an informal environment an attorney has ever appeared hesitant to answer a question, it is possibly that he/she was trying to avoid establishing an informal or implied arrangement between attorney and client.
The attorney has a number of obligations to his client, including attorney-client confidentiality, once an attorney-client relationship has been developed. While the obligations created by the partnership between the lawyer and client vary from state to state, they typically include:
At all times, the attorney must behave in the client’s best interests. This means avoiding any circumstance that would place the interests of the client at odds with the attorney’s or those of any other clients.
Any information the client receives must be kept confidential by the attorney, unless the client gives the attorney permission to disclose the information to others. This is the right of the attorney-client: neither the attorney nor the client can be required to reveal their conversations’ contents. And if the client switches counsel or otherwise breaks the attorney-client arrangement, this confidentiality persists. Indeed, even though a potential client visits an attorney and eventually chooses not to employ that firm, during the initial interview, the attorney must also keep confidential whatever the prospective client tells him or her, and the attorney will not automatically take on a case for a client with a competing interest.
When managing matters on the client’s behalf, the attorney must be fairly competent and experienced and demonstrate good judgment. It can amount to legal malpractice to fail to do so.
The solicitor must also ensure that open communication lines are established with the client and that the client is kept up-to-date on changes in the legal matter of the client.
Confidentiality, the foundation of the right of the attorney-client, is clearly an integral aspect of the attorney-client relationship. However, there are a few exceptions to the right of attorney-client. For example, if a client threatens his lawyer that he or someone else is going to be harmed, and the lawyer fairly considers this threat to be real, the lawyer has a duty to disclose the confidential details in order to prevent someone from being injured or killed. Similarly, a lawyer may waive the right of attorney-client, either deliberately or unintentionally, opening the door for the attorney to disclose privileged information or allowing an adversary to ask about privileged information in some instances. In the presence of others, this may occur either by the client freely discussing sensitive information or by expressly approving the disclosure.