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Attorney/Client Privilege – Explained

July 25, 2017

attorney client privilege

It is important that you know, when you contact Lowenthal & Abrams about representation, everything you say to us is protected by attorney/client privilege. Sometimes called attorney/client confidentiality, this privilege exists whether you are speaking to our attorneys or are speaking to our staff.

What is Covered Under Attorney/Client Privilege

Anything you say to an attorney or staff member with whom you are consulting about your case or you have retained is protected. This means that, with very few exceptions, the attorney can never reveal what you have told him.  The reason behind this privilege is to make certain that those seeking legal help will be comfortable telling their lawyers everything they need to know to properly represent their clients.

The Exceptions

There are exceptions to every rule, and that is the case for attorney/client privilege, but they are very limited.

Great Bodily Harm

Fortunately, the first exception won’t apply to most people. This exception states that if the attorney becomes aware that the client intends to commit a crime which can or will cause serious bodily harm or death, the attorney can report it. In other words, if you tell your attorney you plan on killing someone, if the attorney believes you are serious, they can report you to the police.

Others Present

This one is a big one and can impact many people.  Sometimes, if someone retains an attorney, they will want a friend present to keep them company during the conversation. The problem is, unless you are married or the person or has some other form of privilege related to you, you might have harmed your attorney client privilege by having that person present.

While it is perfectly fine to have a spouse present during your conversations with the attorney. And it is ok to have your guardian present if you are under aged or infirm (and the person is legally your guardian.) It is not always ok to have just a friend or someone who has no legal relationship to you present in the room whenever you are discussion anything that requires privilege.  This is because such a person could be forced to testify against you. Also, the opposing lawyer could argue that the presence of the person destroys attorney/client privilege.  So, if you have a friend in the room when you are speaking with your attorney, and the lawyer tells you that the friend needs to leave, now you understand why. It is to protect you.

Your Permission

You can waive attorney/client privilege if you want. If for some reason, you need your lawyer to reveal something to a third party, you can give your lawyer permission to do so.

For Your Case

It will be necessary for your lawyer to reveal information you supply them as relates to your lawsuit. For example, if you are hurt in a car crash, your lawyer will use various pieces of information about that crash to help you with your claim. The lawyer uses their professional judgment about what to reveal. In some cases, information you provide to the lawyer will be directly relevant to your lawsuit, and so it will be necessary to use that information. For example, we will need your medical records to show the other side how you were hurt, and we will need to use those relevant medical records.

Lowenthal & Abrams Protects its Clients

If you retain the firm of Lowenthal & Abrams, you can be quite secure in the knowledge that the things you say to us are covered by attorney/client privilege. Our attorneys know the ethics rules and follow them carefully. We even have an ethics attorney on staff.

If you have any questions about privilege when it comes to your attorney/client relationship, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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