Attorney-client privilege is arguably one of the most important principles in the entire field of law. Applicable to both criminal and civil cases, attorney-client privilege is, simply put, an assurance that what you tell your attorney remains confidential.
Trusting Attorney-Client Privilege
Under the rule of attorney-client privilege, clients can openly share information with their lawyer without worrying whether he or she will divulge that information to someone else without their written consent. One reason that attorney-client privilege is so essential is that it allows lawyers to provide clients with the effective representation they need and deserve.
Generally, attorney-client privilege applies when a prospective or current client speaks to a lawyer for the purpose of obtaining legal advice. For the rule to be enacted, the client must have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and the lawyer must be giving advice in a professional capacity. Confidentiality is also usually assured when legal information is shared in front of or by your partner, legal guardian, power of attorney, or staff of the law firm.
However, there are times when attorney-client privilege doesn't apply. For example, attorney-client privilege may not apply if there are other people in the room aside from those mentioned above. Additionally, attorneys are legally bound by ethics to alert law enforcement if a client tells them that they're going to commit a crime which will harm another person.
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