The relationship between a lawyer and his or her client is very nearly sacred. Really. Although lawyers sometimes get a bad rap, many of us are out there every day fighting for our clients’ rights. Recognizing this, all states have adopted what is known as the lawyer-client privilege. If you are working with a lawyer on a matter involving legal advice, it’s in your best interest to understand the basics of what this privilege is and how it works.
The underpinnings of the lawyer-client privilege are two principles, both of which affect the quality of the attorney-client relationship:
- Clients must be able to confide in their attorneys.
- Lawyers must have all relevant information to allow them to provide proper legal advice.
To advance these important interests, California law gives certain communications between a lawyer and his or her client a special status known as a privilege. The communications may be in any form: written, including emails, letters, and texts; and oral, face-to-face communications.
When the communication is confidential and is for the purpose of seeking or giving legal advice, it falls within the lawyer-client privilege. This means that the other party in a lawsuit can rarely ever learn about the substance of those communications. While there are a few exceptions under state law, they are rare.
To ensure that your confidential communications with your attorney keep their privilege, both of you must treat them as confidential. Here are some tips for how to do that:
- Do not talk in a public place where your confidential communications may be overheard by someone else.
- Do not tell people about your confidential communications with your lawyer.
- Do not show others confidential written communications to or from your lawyer.
- Keep your confidential communications in a place where others will not see them or have access to them.
- Do not forward emails from your lawyer or post information on social media, such as Facebook.
Remember that your relationship with your lawyer is important and be honest with your lawyer about all of the facts when you seek legal advice. It’s especially important to share the facts that you think may be harmful to your case. This allows your lawyer to be ready to deal with those facts if they come up in your lawsuit.
You can rely on the San Francisco personal injury attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP to guide you through the difficult time that follows a serious injury. We are here for our clients and will passionately seek appropriate compensation for you as the result of your injuries or those of your loved ones. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.