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What is attorney-client privilege?

A lot of people are hesitant to talk with attorneys openly and honestly because many are unsure what the lawyer can turn around and tell others. Unfortunately this can lead to misunderstandings because the most important thing to do is be honest with your attorney. Television has not helped to clarify the confusion over the attorney-client privilege and often misstate or misinterpret what the privilege is.

The attorney-client privilege is a protection that is given to clients when speaking with their attorneys that ensures no cop, judge, or other person can force the attorney to reveal what a client has shared with them during private consultations. The privilege belongs to the client and not the attorney. That means the attorney cannot waive the privilege, except in a few limited circumstances, but the client is free to speak about what was discussed with the attorney. The attorney may assert the privilege on behalf of the client.

One issue that often arises that may affect the privilege often occurs the very first time an individual meets an attorney. It is extremely important to know that the privilege applies at initial consultations, even if you do not hire that particular attorney. It is common that when first consulting an attorney, a person will bring friends or family with them. It is also common for an attorney to ask the other individual to wait in the waiting room while the first individual discusses his or her case. This is not the attorney being rude. The attorney-client privilege only applies to the attorney and potential client, it does not apply to third parties and presents a situation where the discussion can be revealed by the third party. The potential client may waive any potential conflict and allow the third party into the consultation with the understanding there is no privilege as applied to that party.

If there are any questions regarding this privilege and to set up your own consultation with an experienced attorney, call (941)444-5128.

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