Attorney and client privileges refer to the confidentiality of communication between a lawyer and the client. In the United States, the attorney and client privileges focus on communication made in confidence between a counselor and client to seek legal advice. In today’s article, we will talk about the features of attorney and client privileges. Read on!
Covers all types of communication
The attorney-client privilege virtually covers all types of exchanges or communication between an attorney and client. These include oral communication, documents, letters, emails, phone calls, and even text messages. The privileges apply when the communication purpose is to seek or provide legal consultation.
The U.S law requires that the communication between the attorney and client must be confidential. There is no involvement of a third-party, and the communication remains between the lawyer and the client. The privilege is lost when someone outside of the lawyer-client relationship receives the communication. For example, if your friend copied your email to the attorney, you will lose the privilege.
No Formal Retainer Agreement
The attorney and client privileges do not require a formal retainer agreement. It is enough for you to believe that you are consulting an attorney to seek legal advice in advancing your own interests.
An organization can be a “client” too, and in such a situation, the privilege protects communications between the corporation’s attorney and the company’s employees. The communication must be within the scope of an employee’s duties. The lawyer can be an in-house attorney employed by the organization or an outside lawyer at a law firm.
Seek Legal Advice
The client must make communications to the lawyer or counsel. The privilege covers the communication of the client with individuals who assists the attorney in the representation.
For example, these individuals can be an investigator or paralegal. The purpose of communication is to seek legal advice from the counsel. In the corporate context, it means an attorney’s communication is not privileged when he or she provides business advice.
Access to Relevant Information
The main purpose of the privileges is to encourage open communications between the lawyers and their clients. Attorneys need access to relevant information to represent their clients effectively. The attorney-client privilege requires a client to provide his or her lawyer with all the necessary information.
Provide the information even if it is unpleasant or embarrassing to discuss because you never know that a small thing can make a big difference in the court. However, the lawyer must not disclose the information without the consent of the client. Besides, the privilege ensures the attorney can provide frank and candid legal advice to his or her client.
The attorney and client privileges are the most important component of the U.S justice system. The privilege guarantees the confidentiality of the information and allows for better legal advice. Moreover, the attorney-client privilege encourages communication between the lawyer and attorney to promote compliance with the law. That way, the clients know their counselors will protect their confidentiality and do not disclose private information.