Everything You Need to Know About Attorney Client Privilege
Most people have heard of attorney client privilege, but how much do you know about this concept? When you’re going to file a personal injury claim, you want to be sure when this rule is applicable, how it works, and much more. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about attorney client privilege.
What is Attorney Client Privilege?
Confidentiality between clients and attorneys is protected under this rule. It was established so clients would feel comfortable sharing information with their lawyers.
Attorneys are not allowed to divulge their clients’ secrets or conversations that were privately told or held. They may not reveal written or spoken communications with their client that the client felt were going to remain private. These conversations may not be shared with anyone outside of the legal team, without the clients’ consent. The client can waive the right for attorney client privilege, but the lawyer cannot.
When Does This Rule Apply?
You may be wondering if there are certain instances where attorney client privilege doesn’t apply. There are a few, but first we will tell you when it is enacted.
First, this rule applies when lawyers are speaking with current or potential clients. If you have already hired a lawyer, then your conversations are confidential. If you are meeting with the attorney for the first time as a potential client, then they still must follow this rule.
When attorneys are acting in professional capacities, they follow this rule. However, if you are speaking to a friend who happens to be a lawyer in a nonprofessional setting, then this rule doesn’t apply.
If clients intend for the communications to be private and act accordingly, then the attorney must abide by the rule. This extends to when the client is no longer a client or even if they pass away. A lawyer must keep the secrets of a deceased client because they never gave permission to reveal information.
Why Does the Rule Exist?
Attorney client privilege is a rule of evidence, meaning it prevents lawyers from testifying about and being forced to testify about their clients’ statements. Lawyers also owe their clients duty of confidentiality, which prevents attorneys from informally discussing information related to the clients’ case with other people.
Confidentiality Under Attorney Client Privilege
Of course, clients expect confidentiality whenever they speak with their attorney. If it is just you and your attorney speaking in their office with no other witnesses, then you can be confident your conversation is private. If someone secretly records your conversation, it is inadmissible in court.
If you speak to your lawyer in public, this rule can’t prevent someone who overheard it from testifying about it in court. Additionally, if you repeat a conversation you had with your lawyer to someone else or you have someone else in the room while you speak with your attorney, then the privilege is forfeited. Even if these scenarios happen, your attorney is prevented from repeating it.
Now you know everything you need to know about attorney client privilege, and you can feel comfortable knowing what you say to your lawyer is confidential. Do you need to speak with an attorney about your case? Contact one of our personal injury lawyers today.