Vulnerable is one word we could use to describe the feeling many of our clients have the first time they walk into to our office. They are worried and filled with questions, one of the biggest being, what is attorney-client confidentiality?
What is Attorney-Client Confidentiality?
Lawyers keep secrets very well. In all actuality they're not really secrets, though, it's the truth. We are vaults filled with sensitive information pertaining to our clients' particular cases. We trust our clients and the information they divulge to us, and in return we give them attorney-client confidentiality or privilege (confidentiality is a duty, and privilege is a protection).
Basically, it is our sworn oath and honor to not repeat anything told to us by someone unless we have their permission to do so. (It's also an ethical rule, the violation of which has consequences.) The conversations we have are kept private and confidential. In most circumstances, not even a court order can force an attorney to reveal this information.
An attorney could prove to be the best friend you ever have! For attorney-client confidentiality to be in effect, several factors must be present.
- The person with whom you communicate must be a licensed attorney or the staff of an attorney
- The communication is between you and your attorney, NOT additional people
- Confidentiality ONLY exists if you are a client of the attorney or spoke to the attorney about becoming a client
- Confidentiality ONLY pertains to you if you're seeking legal advice, not if you're trying to break the law
- Absent rare exceptions, only you have the ability to allow your attorney to reveal confidential information
Keep in mind, if your case goes to court or you try to sue someone, much of what you say will be made public eventually. Also, not every conversation you have with your attorney is confidential. If you're having the conversation where others can overhear, that is NOT considered confidential.
Bottom line, you should feel confident, safe, and secure discussing your case details with us or any other lawyer. Privileged conversations are part of the relationship with have with our clients and it is one we here at Pickard Parry Pfau take extremely seriously.