Lips are Sealed – The Attorney-Client Privilege

Communications between a lawyer and a client are privileged under most circumstances. The attorney may not disclose information without a client’s consent.  Information possessed by an attorney cannot be disclosed to others without the client’s consent because of the attorney-client privilege and certain other legal concepts.

The attorney-client privilege is based on the idea that an attorney should not be required to testify against the client because it would violate a duty of loyalty owed to the client. At one time, the attorney held the privilege; today, the client holds the privilege.  The attorney may assert it on behalf of the client, but only the client can waive the privilege. The privilege also applies to information provided by the attorney to the client.

As a rule, there must be an attorney-client relationship and the client must make the communication in confidence for the purpose of obtaining legal advice. The communication may be made orally, in writing, or nonverbally (nodding the head).  The communication must be related to the seeking of legal advice.

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