Q: Is it true that things I tell my lawyer are confidential?
— Concerned Client
A: Dear Concerned:
To receive high quality legal advice, it’s critical that you be completely open and honest with your lawyer. A lawyer’s advice is limited if the facts you tell him or her are themselves limited.
That’s why all states recognize the attorney-client privilege. This privilege exists, in large part, to ensure that lawyers get all the facts so they can provide proper legal advice to their clients. The only way lawyers will get all the facts is if clients are assured that their communications are confidential.
This privilege applies regardless of how information is communicated—whether orally, by email, by letter, or by text—as long as the purpose of the communication is to obtain legal advice. Exceptions are few and are dictated by state law. One common exception is when a client tells her lawyer that she is planning to commit a crime in the future.
You can enhance the confidentiality of your communications with your lawyer by not revealing them to other people. If you do, you may lose the privilege.
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