What Is Attorney-Client Privilege and Why Is It So Important?

Attorney-client privilege is a legal privilege that keeps all communication between lawyers and their clients private and confidential. It’s recognized as one of the most sacred privileges for all confidential communication between an attorney and their client.

According to the US Supreme Court, the privilege assures confidentiality and encourages clients to freely and candidly share everything with their attorney. With attorney-client privilege, clients don’t have to worry about any information they share being disclosed to other parties outside of the attorney-client relationship.

In this blog, we’ll offer a closer look at this privilege. What does it entail? Moreover, why is it so important?

1. Peace of Mind

Attorney-client privilege offers clients peace of mind that they are permanently protected. They can discuss their thought process and reveal any insights about the case without worrying about information being leaked. They feel comfortable, safe, and reassured speaking with their lawyers. This privilege ensures that the conversation is more open, honest, and comfortable.

2. Better Representation

Attorneys cannot represent their clients well and build a strong case if they lack critical insights revealed because of attorney-client privilege. Clients shouldn’t hesitate to speak their minds as they can rest assured that the conversation will not leave the bounds of the room. Since attorneys receive honest, clear, and accurate answers, they can provide effective representation based on what the attorney knows and can plan for. The case is strengthened on the whole because the lawyer can anticipate questions and build a counterstrategy around evidence that might otherwise be a surprise and therefore incriminating in court.

3. Exceptions

lawyers discussing a caseThere are certain cases when the privilege does not apply, as in the case where the attorney doesn’t act primarily as a lawyer but may be a business advisor or hold some other nonlegal role. While all confidential information can be protected, the underlying information cannot be protected under the privilege.

Let’s consider an example. If the client has previously revealed confidential information to someone else who isn’t an attorney and later shared the same information with their attorney, the privilege will only protect the attorney-client communication (NOT the communication with the external party).

The privilege can also be waived if the client shares sensitive information with third parties. While your lawyer can and should protect you, external parties cannot. This is why clients are strongly encouraged to disclose information to their lawyers only and not to other individuals or groups.

Looking for a qualified criminal defense lawyer in Texas? Attorney JL Carpenter works on a range of criminal cases, including DWI, drug possession, family violence, domestic violence, and more. Start building your case today by calling JL. She represents clients all over the Houston area, including Friendswood, Clear Lake, and League City.