Attorneys need to thoroughly comply with all of the rules governing professional responsibility. Protecting attorney client privilege is one of the most important rules of conduct that attorneys must follow.
What Are Privileged Communications?
Not all communications between attorneys and clients are protected by privilege. Only statements relating to the legal representation that are made in private fall under the scope of confidentiality. Making statements in the presence of other people typically waves privilege. However, an attorney’s support staff observation of communications will not forfeit the privilege.
Why Is Confidentiality So Important?
In order for attorneys to effectively represent their clients interests, clients need to be able to speak freely and openly with their attorneys. They need reasonable assurance that speaking with an attorney will not harm their legal interests. Attorneys cannot be able to solicit opposing counsel’s communications with their clients as evidence because it would put them in the position of compromising a client’s rights.
What Are Possible Consequences of Violating Rules About Confidentiality?
An attorney who breaches the duty to keep communications confidential could be liable to a client for damages. Here she could also face disciplinary action with the board of bar overseers.
Attorneys must exercise extreme care to protect privileged communications. In practice, this may involve making trial objections and implementing security protocols such as encrypted emails.