Attorney-Client Privilege and Your Rights As An Attorney
As an attorney, you’re probably all too familiar with the concept of attorney-client privilege and how this can influence the discussions you are having with clients and the general public alike. Given the fact that attorney-client privilege is widely considered to be one of the oldest forms of confidentiality agreements in existence today, it is imperative that attorneys take the time to understand fully how the legacy and modern application of this phrase will influence they daily efforts. Knowing when to inform clients that their conversations are protected by confidentiality and when they are not is absolutely critical.
Establishing Attorney-Client Privilege
There is a common misconception amongst the general public that the attorney-client privilege is automatically invoked when a formal discussion with a lawyer occurs. As member of the legal profession, it is critically important to assert when necessary that the privilege of confidentiality is only implemented when certain parameters have been met. Since most individuals outside of the legal profession will not know these rules, attorneys must communicate them as clearly as they can when necessary. These include the following:
1.) The individual choosing to claim the privilege is or is seeking to become a client of the attorney to whom they are speaking.
2.) The attorney speaking to the “client” is a fully licensed member of the legal bar and, perhaps most important, is acting in the role of attorney when the communication was made.
3.) The discussion to be covered by the confidentiality agreement occurred as part of general legal advice.
Exceptions to the Rule
The framework for establishing for establishing attorney-client privilege is expansive, and for good reason. That being said, there are situations where an attorney can breach this privilege without technically creating a legal infraction. For example, if an attorney is forced to defend themselves as part of legal actions being taken against them, they have the right to breach the attorney-client privilege if the specific information being protected by confidentiality could support their case.
Similarly, an attorney is not bound by the confidentiality privilege if a client is in the process of preparing for a crime that they later commit. This ruling was determined as part of the landmark Clark vs. United States supreme court decision.
It is important to note here, however, that the attorney can only exit attorney-client privilege if the crime itself is actually carried out. Simply discussing illegal acts is not enough to render the attorney-client privilege invalid.
Indio Attorneys at Your Service
Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in an accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today at (760) 777-7777 for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.
DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.