When you think of who you’d tell your deepest, darkest secrets to, the list is probably short and clear: your mother, your romantic partner, maybe even your best friend. Are you aware that attorneys make a commitment to their clients, in what is known as Attorney-Client Privilege? This relationship has been under scrutiny recently, as the Department of Justice has handled questions about this privilege. Emails are a method of communication inmates are sometimes forced to use with their lawyers, while in prison for white collar related offense. Discussion of how emails should be handled, and what protection they should be given is a current discussion. You can read more about the specifics of this discussion here.
Within the Rules of Professional Responsibility, the area of confidentiality between an attorney and their client is a highly important topic. It is essential to the practice of law that a client feels comfortable with their attorney, and free to give a detailed description of their case. For their part, an attorney is responsible for holding this information in confidence. There are specifics to these rules, and your attorney is responsible for knowing the current details on this subject, including recent case decisions and applications. For example, “The attorney-client privilege only protects the essence of the communications actually had by the client and lawyer and only extends to information given for the purpose of obtaining legal representation.. The underlying information is not protected if it is available from another source. Therefore, information cannot be placed under an evidentiary ‘cloak’of protection simply because it has been told to the lawyer.” [Quote obtained from The American Bar Association’s website, discussion in the Center for Professional Responsibility, on Confidentiality. Read more here.
Before you disclose information to an attorney, be sure you have established a relationship that qualifies for this privilege. What is the best way to know if your information will be covered? Simply ask!
If you are in need of assistance with legal matters, and would like to know more about what information is covered under attorney-client privilege, contact Wolfe Law Office for a free consultation at 304-245-9097.