Attorney-Client Privilege and Professional Responsibility

Lawyers owe their clients an extremely high duty of care.  The board of bar overseers in every state enforces rules concerning professional responsibility. It is important that firms and solo practitioners have policies aimed at protecting client confidentiality in order to comply with all applicable rules.

Evidentiary Procedure

Private communications between attorneys and clients are privileged. In effect, these communications are not admissible into evidence.

Policy Reasons for Confidentiality

An attorney’s principal responsibility to his or her clients is to represent their interests. If an attorney had to reveal information that clients revealed in the course of a representation, doing so could run counter to clients’ interests. The duty of confidentiality spares attorneys from being in a situation that potentially forces them to harm a client.

Information That Is Not Privileged

Communications may be privileged while a client is meeting with an attorney for an initial consultation. However, the law about confidentiality prior to the formation of an attorney-client relationship varies by jurisdiction.

Client communications are not privileged if they do not relate to a legal representation. Conversations between an attorney and client that a third party witness is not protected by privilege.

Prioritizing client confidentiality in operational policies can help mitigate their risk exposure. Failing to comply with rules about attorney-client privilege.