What is the difference between attorney-client privilege and confidentiality?

The duty of confidentiality is much broader than the attorney-client privilege. As explained above, the duty of confidentiality applies to ALL information the lawyer has about the client; it is not limited to conversations between the lawyer and the client. In addition, the duty of confidentiality applies to all environments, not just environments where test rules apply. The duty of confidentiality is broader than the attorney-client privilege; it is not subject to the same exceptions.

It includes, but is not limited to, information transmitted directly to the lawyer by the client; it is not limited to legal advice or communications relating simply to legal matters. The duty also applies to communications only with potential customers. Duty survives the termination of the attorney-client relationship, and even the death of the client. Because attorney-client confidentiality and attorney-client privilege have the ultimate goal of protecting client information, there are some similarities between the two regarding how information can be disclosed and when it can be disclosed.

The attorney-client privilege is waived when the client sues his lawyer; the lawyer can defend himself by disclosing attorney-client privileged information. A communication is protected by the privilege only if it is intended to be confidential, that is, if it is made with the expectation that it will not be disclosed outside the attorney-client relationship. Although attorney-client privilege, like the fiduciary duty of confidentiality, is rooted in common law, today attorney-client privilege is generally governed by state law, and there are few exceptions and they are also generally legal. Such communications are privileged only if the overriding purpose is to promote the objectives of the attorney-client relationship.

Albert Richardson
Albert Richardson

Total coffee specialist. Friendly bacon guru. Hipster-friendly pop culture guru. Infuriatingly humble coffee junkie. Subtly charming web guru. Devoted internet trailblazer.

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