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What Is Attorney-client Privilege?

Both correspondence between an attorney and a client (written or oral) are protected by a special right to secrecy. This special right of confidentiality is called the attorney-client privilege.

Attorney-client confidentiality suggests that no one can ask a client to reveal the contents of all conversations between the client and the attorney of that client. This right is subject to exceptions which are very few.

The privacy privilege belongs to the client (not the Attorney).

Unless the client renounces the right, a attorney is obligated to protect the right of confidentiality.

Privilege only refers to the correspondence made between the defendant and the counsel. It does not extend to contracts and other legal agreements drawn up by a solicitor. A legal opinion, for example, is privileged because it is a communication from an attorney to a client. However, all agreements drafted by a counsel would not be privileged, since contracts are enforced by such records and are not correspondence.

A customer may revoke this right to secrecy (either explicitly or implicitly). Disclosure to a third party of the contents of a message may constitute an implicit waiver. If the customer discloses a contact to someone, it can be taken by the customer to mean that the customer no longer trusts that the communication is private.

Many consumers wish to maintain this confidentiality privilege. Customers would want to do the following to safeguard against losing this right.

Refrain from communicating with others about the content of attorney-client correspondence.

This is not to suggest that, depending on what an attorney has suggested, you should not clarify what you have agreed to do. The contact between the Client and the client is the real advice provided by the Client, not what you do on the basis of that advice. Of necessity, for purposes of preserving anonymity, you do not wish to reveal your decision to anyone solely.

For starters, believe that estate planning problems are addressed by the client and the attorney. The attorney will (and should) negotiate with the client’s family the different estate planning alternatives in order to ensure that the preferred estate planning option is the one that best fits the interests of the family.

In a special file that is specifically labelled “Privileged Legal Material-Not To Be Disclosed,” hold copies of all letters and other documents obtained from the client. Keep the file, apart from usual (non-privileged) documents, in a safe location. This is a simple way to guard against mistakenly showing a tax auditor’s communications during the process of an audit.

In order to give legal counsel to the defendant, the attorney also has consultations with the accountants of the client and other advisers. Such consultations can be held with other advisers under the confidentiality of the right of the attorney-client.