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What Does Attorney-Client Privilege Mean?

What Does Attorney-Client Privilege Mean?


One of the oldest privileges when it comes to common law, attorney-client privilege represents a client’s right to refuse to disclose—and to prevent third parties from disclosing—confidential communications between the attorney and client.

The United States Supreme Court notes that this privilege is designed to assure confidentiality, encouraging clients to make frank disclosures to their attorneys who are then better equipped to represent the client, provide robust advice, and accurately represent them in court. In layman’s terms, attorney-client privileges mean that a person who seeks counsel from a lawyer should be completely free of any fear that their secrets will be uncovered or disseminated.

Attorney-Client Privilege Limitations

According to a crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privileges, client communication isn’t protected if its intent is to commit or cover up fraud or a crime. Because these privileges belong to the client, the client’s intent decides if the exception applies. This exception applies if the client is showing intention or is in the process of committing a violent act or crime, or if the client communicated with their attorney with intent to further fraud or to cover it up. Some states have taken a step further to include civil tort. For example, the exception could apply if an apartment tenant wants to unlawfully rent out a landlord’s property without proper legal authorization.

Importance of Hiring a Trustworthy Attorney

Trust establishes open lines of communication, increases cooperation, and ultimately drives accurate representation of facts. Clients who trust their lawyers are eager to meet lawyers’ needs, while also encouraging lawyers to be steadfast in their explanation and interpretation of common law. Regardless of practice or specialization, lawyers are humans who have an augmented understanding of the law—they will be more adaptable to clients who are willing to trust them. When in the service of a trustworthy attorney, clients will be more frank with information—making the process that much smoother for both attorney and client.

Local Attorneys You Can Trust

When you need representation for your legal affairs, rely on the services of a local attorney who understands the value of discretion and confidentiality. Lanzotti & Rau can help handle your legal issues in a professional and respectable manner that always honors the privileges bound between client and counsel. To schedule your complimentary consultation with the attorneys at Lanzotti & Rau, contact us today at 573-335-9300.